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Science, Frcntis—Vol. ii 






M C M I 1 




Translator's Preface 9 

Preface to the First Edition of the Critique 13 

Preface to the Second Edition 21 


I. — Of the Diiference between Pure and Empirical Knowledge 43 

II. — The Human Intellect, even in an un philosophical state, is in posses- 
sion of certain cognitions <J ^n'ori 44 

III. — Philosophy stands in need of a Science which shall determine the 
possibilily, principles, and extent of Human Knowledge 

d priori 47 

IV. — Of the Difference between Analytical and Synthetical Judgments 49 

V. — In all Theoretical Sciences of Reason, Synthetical Judgments d priori 

are contained as Principles 52 

VI. — The Universal Problem of Pure Reason 55 

VII. — Idea and Division of a Particular Science, under the Name of a 

Critique of Pure Reason 59 


§ 1. Introductory 63 

Section I. — Of Space 

§ 2. Metaphysical Exposition of this Conception 65 

§ 3. Transcendental Exposition of the couception of Space 67 

§4. Conclusions from the foregoing Conceptions. 6S 



Section XL—Ot Time 

§5. Metaphysical Exposition of this Conception 71 

§ 6. Transcendental Exposition of the Conception of Time 11 

§ 1. Conclusions from the above Conceptions 73 

§ 8. Elucidation V5 

§9. General Remarks on Transcendental Esthetic 19 

§ 10. Conclusion of the Transcendental Esthetic 89 


Introduction. — Idea of a Transcendental Logic 

I. — Of Logic in general 90 

II. — Of Transcendental Logic 94 

III. — Of the division of General Logic into Analytic and Dialectic 96 

IT. — Of the division of Transcendental Logic into Transcendental 

Analytic and Dialectic 99 

Transcendental Analytic. § 1 100 


Analytic of Conceptions. § 2 101 

Chapter I. — Of the Transcendental Clew to the Discovery of all Pure 
Conceptions of the Understanding. 

Introductory. § 3 102 

Section I. — Of the Logical Use of the Understanding in general. § 4 103 
Section II. — Of the Logical Function of the Understanding in Judg- 
ments. § 5 104 

Section III. — Of the Pure Conceptions of the Understanding, or 

Categories. § 6 109 

Chapter n. — Of the Deduction of the Pure Conceptions of the Under- 
Section I. — Of the Principles of Transcendental Deduction (n gen- 
eral. § 9 119 

Transition to the Transcendental Deduction of the Categories. 

§ 10 125 

Section II. — Transcendental Deduction of the Pure Conceptions of 
the Understanding. 
Of the Possibility of a Conjunction of the manifold representa- 
tions given by Sense. § 11 128 

Of the Originally Synthetical Unity of Apperception. §12 130 

The Principle of the Synthetical Unity of Apperception is the 
highest Principle of all exercise of the Understanding. § 18... 13? 


What Objective Unity of Self-consciousness is. § 14 135 

The Logical Form of all Judgments consists in the Objective 
Unity of Apperception of the Conceptions contained therein. 
§ 15 136 

All Sensuous Intuitions are subject to the Categories, as Condi- 
tions under which alone the manifold contents of them can be 
united in one Consciousness. §16 137 

Observations. § 17 138 

In Cognition, its Application to Objects of Experience is the only 
legitimate use of the Category. § 18 139 

Of the Application of the Categories to Objects of the Senses in 
general. § 20 141 

Transcendental Deduction of the universally possible employment 
in experience of the Pure Conceptions of the Understanding. 
§ 22 147 

Result of this Deduction of the Conceptions of the Understand- 
ing. § 23 151 

Short view of the above Deduction 153 


Analytic of Principles 154 

Introduction. — Of the Transcendental Faculty of Judgment m 
general 155 

Transcendental Docteine op the Faculty of JuDaMSNT, or Analytic 

OF Principles 

Chapter I. — Of the Schematism of the Pure Conceptions of the Under- 
standing 158 

Chapter II. — System of all Principles of the Pure Understanding 165 

Section I. — Of the Supreme Principle of all Analytical Judgments 167 

Section II. — Of the Supreme Principle of all Synthetical Judgments.. 169 
Section III. — Systematic Representations of all Synthetical Princi- 
ples of the Pure Understanding 172 

I. — Axioms of Intuition 175 

II. — Anticipations of Perception 179 

III, — Analogies of Experience 186 

A. First Analogy. — Principle of the Permanence of Sub- 

stance.- 1^1 

B. Second Analogy.— Principle of the Succession of Time. 196 

C. Third Analogy. — Principle of Coexistence 213 

IV. — The Postulates of Empirical Thought 219 

Refutation of Idealism 224 

General Remark on the System of Principles .• 233 


Chapter III. — Of the Ground of the division of all objects into Phenomena 

and Noumena 237 

Appendix. — Of the Equiyocal Nature or Amphiboly, the Conceptions 
of Eefiection from the Confusion of the Transcendental 

with the Empirical use of the Understanding 251 

Bemarlc od the Amphibolj of the Conceptions of Reflection. 256 

xranscendental Dialectic — Introduction 

I. — Of Transcendental Illusory Appearance 273 

11. — Of Pure Reason as the Seat of Transcendental Illusory Appear- 
ance 276 

A. Of Reason in General 276 

B. Of the Logical Use of Reason _ 279 

C. Of the Pure Use of Reason 281 


Of the Conceptions of Pure Reason 284 

Section 1. — Of Ideas in General 285 

Section II. — Of Transcendental Ideas _ 291 

Section III. — System of Transcendental Ideas 299 


Of the Dialectical Procedure of Pure Reason _ _ 303 

Chapter L — Of the Paralogisms of Pure Reason _ 305 

Refutation of the Argument of Mendelssohn for the Substantiality 

or Permanence of the Soul _ 313 

Conclusion of the Solution of the Psychological Paralogism 321 

General Remark on the Transition from Rational Psychology to 

Cosmology _ _ 322 

Chapter IL — The Antinomy of Pure Reason 325 

Section I. — System of Cosmological Ideas 327 

Section U. — Antithetic of Pure Reason _ 334 

/irat Antinomy 338 

Second Antinomy _ 342 

Third Antinomy 349 

Fourth Antinomy _ 354 

Section III. — Of the Interest of Reason in these Self -Contradictions... 360 
Seclioa lY. — Of the Necessity Imposed upon Pure Reason of present- 
ing a Solution of its Transcendental Problems 370 

Bection Y, — Sceptical Exposition of the Cosmological Problems pre- 
sented in the four Transcendental Ideas 375 


Section VI. — Transcendental Idealism as the Key to the Solution of 

Pure Cosmological Dialectic 319 

Section VII. — Critical Solution of the Cosmological Problems 383 

Seclion VIII. — Regulative Principle of Pure Reason in relation to the 

Cosmological Ideas..... 390 

Section IX. — Of the Empirical Use of the Regulative Principle of 

Reason, with regard to the Cosmological Ideas 395 

I. — Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the 

Composition of Phenomena in the Universe ■ . 396 

II. — Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the 

Division of a Whole given in Intuition 400 

Concluding Remaric on the Solution of the Transcendental 
Mathematical Ideas — and Introductory to the Solution of 

the Dynamical Ideas _. 402 

iTfi — Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the 

Deduction of Cosmical Events from their Causes 405 

Possibility of Freedom in Harmony with the Universal 

Law of Natural Necessity 408 

Exposition of the Cosmological Idea of Freedom in Har- 
mony with the universal Law of Natural Necessity 411 

IV, — Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the 

Dependence of Phenomenal Existences 422 

Concluding Remarks on the Antinomy of Pure Reason 42S 

Chapter III. — The Ideal of Pure Reason. 

Section I. — Of the Ideal m General __ 427 

Section II. — Of the Transcendental Ideal 430 

Section III. — Of the Arguments Employed by Speculative Reason in 

Proof of the Existence of a Supreme Being... 438 

Section IV. — Of the Impossibility of an Outological Proof of the Ex- 
istence of God 443 

Section V. — Of the Impossibility of a Cosmological Proof of the 

Rxistence of God 450 

Detection and Explanation of the Dialectical Illusion in 
all Transcendental Arguments for the Existence of a 

Necessary Being..... . .^ . .......... 458 

Section VL — Of the Impossibility of a Physico-Theological Proof...... 462 

Section VII. — Critique of all Theology based upon Speculative Prin- 
ciples of Reason.............. ...____........„..... 469 

Appendix. — Of the Regulative Employment of the 

Ideas of Pure Reason........^ 476 

Of the Ultimate End of the Natural Dialectic of Hu- 
Biau Reason 495 



Chapter I. — The Discipline of Pure Reason — -. 519 

Section I. — The Discipline of Pure Eeasou in the Sphere of Dog- 
matism _.. 622 

Section II. — The Discipline of Pure Reason in Polemics.- _ 539 

Section III. —The Discipline of Pure Reason in Hypothesis -... 560 

Section IV. — The Discipline of Pure Reason in Relation to Proofs 568 

Chapter II. — The Canon of Pure Reason _„..... 576 

Section T.— Of the Ultimate End of the Pure Use of Reason 578 

Section II. — Of the Ideal of the Summum Bonum as a Determining 

Ground of the ultimate End of Pure Reason 582 

Section III. — Of Opinion, Knowledge, and Belief..... 593 

Chapter III. — The Architectonic of Pure Reason 601 

Chapter IT. — The History of Pure Reason 614 


The following translation has been undertaken with the 
hope of rendering Kant's "Kritik der reinen Vernuuft" 
intelligible to the English student. 

The difficulties which meet the reader and the translator 
of this celebrated work arise from various causes. Kant 
was a man of clear, vigorous, and trenchant thought, and, 
after nearly twelve years' meditation, could not be in doubt 
as to his own system. But the Horatian rule of 

Verba prsevisam rem non invita aequentur, 

will not apply to him. He had never studied the art of 
expression. He wearies by frequent repetitions, and em- 
ploys a great number of words to express, in the clumsiest 
way, what could have been enounced more clearly and dis- 
tinctly in a few. The main statement in his sentences is 
often overlaid with a multitude of qualifying and explana- 
tory clauses; and the reader is lost in a maze, from which 
he has great difficulty in extricating himself. There are 
some passages which have no main verb; others, in which 
the author loses sight of the subject with which he set out, 
and concludes with a predicate regarding something else 
mentioned in the course of his argument. All this can be 
easily accounted for. Kant, as he mentions in a letter to 
Lambert, took nearly twelve years to excogitate his work, 
and only five months to write it. He was a German pro- 
fessor, a student of solitary habits, and had never, except 
on one occasion, been out of Konigsberg. He had, besides, 
to propound a new system of philosophy, and to enounce 
ideas that were entirely to revolutionize European thought. 
On the other hand, there are many excellences of style in 
this work. His expression is often as precise and forcible 
as his thought; and, in some of his notes especially, he 



sums up, in two or tlxree apt and powerful words, thoughts 
which, at other times, he employs pages to develop. His 
terminology, which has been so violently denounced, is 
really of great use in clearly determining his system, and 
in rendering its peculiarities more easy ot comprehension. 

A previous translation of the Kritik exists, which, had 
it been satisfactory, would have dispensed with the present. 
But the translator had, evidently, no very extensive ac- 
quaintance with the German lamguage, and still less with 
his subject. A translator ought to be an interpreting intel- 
lect between the author and the reader; but, in the present 
case, the only interpreting medium has been the dictionary. 

Indeed, Kant's fate in this country has been a very hard 
one. Misunderstood by the ablest philosophers of the time, 
illustrated, explained, or translated by the most incompetent 
— it has been his lot to be either unappreciated, misappre- 
hended, or entirely neglected. Dugald Stewart did not 
understand his system of philosophy — as he had no proper 
opportunity of making himself acquainted with it; Nitsch' 
and Willich' undertook to introduce him to the English 
philosophical public; Eichardson and Haywood "traduced" 
him. More recently, an Analysis of the Kritik, by Mr. 
Haywood, has been published, which consists almost en- 
tirely of a selection of sentences from his own translation — 
a mode of analysis which has not served to make the subject 
more intelligible. In short, it may be asserted that there 
is not a single English work upon Kant which deserves 
to be read, or which can be read with any profit, excepting 
Semple's translation of the "Metaphysic of Ethics." All 
are written by men who either took no pains to understand 
Kant, or were incapable of understanding him.' 

' A General and Introductory View of Professor Kant's Frinciples. By 
F. A. Nitach. London, 1796. 

' Willich's Elements of Kant's Philosophy, 8vo. 1198. 

3 It is curious to observe, in ail the English works written specially upon 
Kant, that not one of his commentators ever ventures, for a moment, to leave 
the words of Kant, and to explain the subject he may be considering in his 
own words. Nitsch and Willich, who professed to write on Kant's philosophy. 


The following translation was begun on the basis of a 
MS. translation, by a scholar of some repute, placed in my 
hands by Mr. Bohn, with a request that I should revise 
it, as he had perceived it to be incorrect. After having 
labored through about eighty pages, I found, from the 
numerous errors and inaccuracies pervading it, that hardly 
one-fifth of the original MS. remained. I, therefore, laid it 
entirely aside, and commenced de novo. These eighty pages 
I did not cancel, because the careful examination which they 
had undergone made them, as I believed, not an unworthy 
representation of the author. 

The second edition of the Kritik, from which all the 
subsequent ones have been reprinted without alteration, is 
followed in the present translation. Eosenkranz, a recent 
editor, maintains that the author's first edition is far su- 
perior to the second; and Schopenhauer asserts that the 
alterations in the second were dictated by unworthy motives. 
He thinks the second a Verschlimmhesserung of the first; and 
that the changes made by Kant, "in the weakness of old 
age," have rendered it a "self -contradictory and mutilated 
work." I am not insensible to the able arguments brought 
forward by Schopenhauer; while the authority of the elder 
Jacobi, Michelet, and others, adds weight to his opinion. 
But it may be doubted whether the motives imputed to 
Kant could have influenced him in the omission of certain 
passages in the second edition — whether fear could have 
induced a man of his character to retract the statements he 
had advanced. The opinions he expresses in many parts of 
the second edition, in pages 546-552, for example,' are not 

are merely translators ; Haywood, even in his notes, merely repeats Kant ; and 
the translator of "Beck's Principles of the Critical Philosophy," while pre 
tending to give, in his "Translator's Preface," his own views of the Critical 
Philosophy, has fabricated his Preface out of selections from the works of 
Kant. The same is the case with the translator of Kant's "Essays and 
Treatises" (2 vols. 8vo. London, 1798). This person has written a preface to 
each of the volumes, and both are almost literal translations from difEerent 
parts of Kant's works. He had the impudence to present the thoughts con- 
tained in them as his own ; few being then able to detect the plagiarism. 
' Of the present translation. 


those of a philosopher who would surrender what he be- 
lieved to be truth, at the outcry of prejudiced opponents. 
Nor are his attacks on the "sacred doctrines of the old dog- 
matic philosophy," as Schopenhauer maintains, less bold 
or vigorous in the second than in the first edition. And, 
finally, Kant's own testimony must be held to be of greater 
weight than that of any number of other philosophers, how- 
ever learned and profound. 

No edition of the Kritik is very correct. Even those of 
Eosenkranz and Schubert, and Modes and Baumann, con- 
tain errors which reflect somewhat upon the care of the 
editors. Bat the common editions, as well those printed 
during as after Kant's lifetime, are exceedingly bad. One 
of these, the "third edition improved, Frankfort and Leipzig, 
1791," swarms with errors, at once misleading and annoy- 
ing. — Eosenkranz has made a number of very happy conjec- 
tural emendations, the accuracy of which cannot be doubted. 

It may be necessary to mention that it has been found 
requisite to coin one or two new philosophical terms, to rep- 
reseat those employed by Kant. It was, of course, almost 
impossible to translate the Kritik with the aid of the philo- 
sophical vocabulary at present used in England. But these 
new expressions have been formed according to Horace's 
maxim — parci detorta. Such is the verb intuite for an- 
schauen; the manifold in intuition has also been employed for 
das Mannigfaltige der Anschauung, by which Kant designates 
the varied contents of a perception or intuition. Kant's own 
terminology has the merit of being precise and consistent. 

Whatever may be the opinion of the reader with regard 
to the possibility of metaphysics — whatever his estimate of 
the utility of such discussions — the value of Kant's work, as 
an instrument of mental discipline, cannot easily be over- 
rated. If the present translation contribute in the least to 
the advancement of scientific cultivation, if it aid in the 
formation of habits of severer and more profound thought, 
the translator will consider himself well compensated for 
his arduous and long-protracted labor. J. M. D. M. 


Human reason, in one sphere of its cognition, is called 
upon to consider questions, wMch it cannot decline, as they 
are presented by its own nature, but which it cannot answer, 
as they transcend every faculty of the mind. 

It falls into this diificulty without any fault of its own. 
It begins with principles, which cannot be dispensed with 
in the field of experience, and the truth and sufficiency of 
which are, at the same time, insured by experience. With 
these principles it rises, in obedience to the laws of its own 
nature, to ever higher and more remote conditions. But it 
quickly discovers that, in this way, its labors must remain 
ever incomplete, because new questions never cease to pre- 
sent themselves ; and thus it finds itself compelled to have 
recourse to principles which transcend the region of experi- 
ence, while they are regarded by common-sense without dis- 
trust. It thus falls into confusion and contradictions, from 
which it conjectures the presence of latent errors, which, 
however, it is unable to discover, because the principles it 
employs, transcending the limits of experience, cannot be 
tested by that criterion. The arena of these endless contests 
is called Metaphysic. 

Time was, when she was the queen of all the science*; 
and, if we take the will for the deed, she certainly deserves, 
so far as regards the high importance of her object-matter, 
this title of honor. Now, it is the fashion oi the time to heap 
contempt and scorn upon her; and the matron mourns, for- 
lorn and forsaken, like Hecuba, 

"Modo maxima rerum, 
Tot generis, natisque potens .... 
Nunc trahor exul, inops. ' ' ' 

' Ovid, Jletamoi-plioses. 



At first, her government, under the administration of the 
dogmatists, was an absolute despotism. But, as the legislative 
continued to show traces of the ancient barbaric rule, her 
empire gradually broke up, and intestine wars introduced 
the reign of anarchy ; while the sceptics, like nomadic tribes, 
who hate a permanent habitation and settled mode of living, 
attacked from time to time those who had organized them- 
selves into civil communities. But their number was, very 
happily, small ; and thus they could not entirely put a stop 
to the exertions of those who persisted in raising new edi- 
fices, although on no settled or uniform plan. In recent 
times the hope dawned upon us of seeing those disputes set- 
tled, and the legitimacy of her claims established by a kind 
of physiology of the human understanding — that of the cele- 
brated Locke. But it was found that — although it was af- 
firmed that this so-called queen could not refer her descent 
to any higher source than that of common experience, a cir- 
cumstance which necessarily brought suspicion on her claims 
— as this genealogy was incorrect, she persisted in the ad- 
vancement of her claims to sovereignty. Thus metaphysics 
necessarily fell back into the antiquated and rotten constitu- 
tion of dogmatism, and again became obnoxious to the con- 
tempt from which efforts had been made to save it. At 
present, as all methods, according to the general persuasion, 
have been tried in vain, there reigns naught but weariness 
and complete indifferentism — the mother of chaos and night 
in the scientific world, but at the same time the source of, or 
at least the prelude to, the re-creation and reinstallation of 
a science, when it has fallen into confusion, obscurity, and 
disuse from ill-directed effort. 

For it is in reality vain to profess indifference in regard 
to such inquiries, the object of which cannot be indifferent to 
humanity. Besides, these pretended indifferentists, however 
much they may try to disguise themselves by the assump- 
tion of a popular style and by changes on the language of 
the schools, unavoidably fall into metaphysical declarations 
and propositions, which they profess to regard with so much 


contempt. At the same time, this indifference, which has 
arisen in the world of science, and which relates to that kind 
of knowledge which we should wish to see destroyed the 
last, ia a phenomenon that well deserves our attention and 
reflection. It is plainly not the effect of the levity, but of 
the matured judgment of the age, which refuses to be any 
longer entertained with illusory knowledge. It is, in fact, a 
call to reason, again to undertake the most laborious of all 
tasks — that of self-examination, and to establish a tribunal, 
which may secure it in its well grounded claims, while it 
pronounces against all baseless assumptions and pretensions, 
not in an arbitrary manner, but according to its own eternal 
and unchangeable laws. This tribunal is nothing less than 
the Critical Investigation of Pure Reason. 

I do not mean by this a criticism of books and systems, 
but a critical inquiry into the faculty of reason, with refer- 
ence to the cognitions to which it strives to attain without the 
aid vf experience ; in other words, the solution of the ques- 
tion regarding the possibility or impossibility of Metaphys- 
ics, and the determination of the origin, as well as of the 
extent and limits of this science. All this must be done 
on the basis of principles. 

This path — the only one now remaining — has been entered 
upon by me ; and I flatter myself that I have, in this way, 
discovered the cause of — and consequently the mode of re- 
moving — all the errors which have hitherto set reason at 
variance with itself, in the sphere of non-empirical thought. 

' We very often hear complaints of the shallowness of the present age, and 
of the decay of profound science. But I do not think that those which rest 
upon a secure foundation, such as Mathematics, Physical Science, etc., iu the 
least deserve this reproach, but that they rather maintain their ancient fame, 
and in the latter case, indeed, far surpass it. The same would be the case with 
the other kinds of cognition, if their principles were but firmly established. In 
the absence of this security, indifference, doubt, and finally, severe criticism are 
rather signs of a profound habit of thought. Our age is the age of criticism, to 
which everything must be subjected. The sacredness of religion, and the au- 
thority of legislation, are by many regarded as grounds of exemption from the 
examination of this tribunaL But, if they are exempted, they become the sub- 
jects of just suspicion, and cannot lay claim to sincere respect, which reason 
accords only to that which has stood the test of a free and public examination. 


I have not returned an evasive answer to the questions of 
reason, by alleging the inability and limitation of the facul- 
ties of the mind; I have, on the contrary, examined them 
completely in the light of principles, and, after having dis- 
covered the cause of the doubts and contradictions into 
which reason fell, have solved them to its perfect satisfac- 
tion. It is true, these questions have not been solved as 
dogmatism, in its vain fancies and desires, had expected; 
for it can only be satisfied by the exercise of magical arts, 
and of these I have no knowledge. But neither do these 
come within the compass of our mental powers; and it was 
the duty of philosophy to destroy the illusions which had 
their origin in misconceptions, whatever darling hopes and 
valued expectations may be ruined by its explanations. My 
chief aim in this work has been thoroughness; and I make 
bold to say, that there is not a single metaphysical problem 
that does not find its solution, or at least the key to its solu- 
tion, here. Pure reason is a perfect unity; and therefore, if 
the principle presented by it prove to be insufiicient for the 
solution of even a single one of those questions to which 
the very nature of reason gives birth, we must reject it, as 
we could not be perfectly certain of its sufficiency in the 
case of the others. 

While I say this, I think I see upon the countenance of 
the reader signs of dissatisfaction mingled with contempt, 
when he hears declarations which sound so boastful and ex- 
travagant; and yet they are beyond comparison more mod- 
erate than those advanced by the commonest author of the 
commonest philosophical programme, in which the dogmatist 
professes to demonstrate the simple nature of the soul, or 
the necessity of a primal being. Such a dogmatist promises 
to extend human knowledge beyond the limits of possible 
experience; while I humbly confess that this is completely 
beyond my power. Instead of any such attempt, I confine 
myself to the examination of reason alone and its pure 
thought; and I do not need to seek far for the sum-total 
of its cognition, because it has its seat in my own mind. 


Besides, common logic presents me with a complete and 
systematic catalogue of all tlie simple operations of reason; 
and it is my task to answer the question how far reason can 
go, without the material presented and the aid furnished 
by experieilce. 

So much for the completeness and thoroughness necessary 
in the execution of the present task. The aims set before us 
are not arbitrarily proposed, but are imposed upon us by the 
nature of cognition itself. 

The above remarks relate to the matter of our critical 
inquiry. As regards the farm, there are two indispensable 
conditions, which any one who undertakes so difficult a task 
as that of a critique of pure reason is bound to fulfil. These 
conditions are certitude and clearness. 

As regards certitude, I have fully convinced myself that, 
in this sphere of thought, opinion is perfectly inadmissible, 
and that everything which bears the least semblance of a 
hypothesis must be excluded, as of no value in such discus- 
sions. For it is a necessary condition of every cognition 
that is to be established upon a priori grounds, that it shall 
be held to be absolutely necessary ; much more is this the 
case with an attempt to determine all pure a priori cognition, 
and to furnish the standard — and consequently an example — 
of all apodictic (philosophical) certitude. Whether I have 
succeeded in what I professed to do, it is for the reader to 
determine; it is the author's business merely to adduce 
grounds and reasons, without determining what influence 
these ought to have on the mind of his judges. But, lest 
anything he may have said may become the innocent cause 
of doubt in their minds, or tend to weaken the effect which 
his arguments might otherwise produce — he may be allowed 
to point out those passages which may occasion mistrust or 
difficulty, although these do not concern the main purpose 
of the present work. He does this solely with the view of 
removing from the mind of the reader any doubts which 
might affect his judgment of the work as a whole, and 
in regard to its ultimate aim. 


I know no investigations more necessary for a full insight 
into the nature of the faculty which we call understanding, 
and at the same time for the determination of the rules and 
limits of its use, than those undertaken in the second chapter 
of the Transcendental Analytic, under the title of Deduction 
of the Pure Conceptions of the Understanding ; and they have 
also cost me by far the greatest labor — labor which, I hope, 
will not remain uncompensated. The view there taken, 
which goes somewhat deeply into the subject, has two sides. 
The one relates to the objects of the pure understanding, and 
is intended to demonstrate and to render comprehensible the 
objective validity of its d priori conceptions; and it forms 
for this reason an essential part of the Critique. The other 
considers the pure understanding itself, its possibility and 
its powers of cognition — that is, from a subjective point of 
view; and, although this exposition is of great importance, 
it does not belong essentially to the main purpose of the 
work, because the grand question is, what and how much 
can reason and understanding, apart from experience, cog- 
nize, and not, how is the faculty of thought itself possible ? 
As the latter is an inquiry into the cause of a given effect, 
and has thus in it some semblance of a hypothesis (although, 
as I shall show on another occasion, this is really not the 
fact), it would seem that, in the present instance, I had al- 
lowed myself to enounce a mere opinion, and that the reader 
must therefore be at liberty to hold a different opinion. But 
I beg to remind him, that, if my subjective deduction does 
not produce in his mind the conviction of its certitude at 
which I aimed, the objective deduction, with which alone 
the present work is properly concerned, is in every respect 

As regards clearness, the reader has a right to demand, 
in the first place, discursive or logical clearness, that is, on 
the basis of conceptions, and, secondly, intuitive or aesthetic 
clearness, by means of intuitions, that is, by examples or 
other modes of illustration in concreto. I have done what I 
could for the first kind of intelligibility. This was essential 


to my purpose; and it thus became the accidental cause of 
my inability to do complete justice to the second require- 
ment. I have been almost always at a loss, during the prog- 
ress of this work, how to settle this question. Examples 
and illustrations always appeared to me necessary, and, in 
the first sketch of the Critique, naturally fell into their proper 
places. But I very soon became aware of the magnitude of 
my task, and the numerous problems with which I should be 
engaged; and, as I perceived that this critical investigation 
would, even if delivered in the driest scholastic manner, be 
far from being brief, I found it inadvisable to enlarge it still 
more with examples and explanations, which are necessary 
only from a popular point of view. I was induced to take 
this course from the consideration also, that the present 
work is not intended for popular use, that those devoted to 
science do not require such helps, although they are always 
acceptable, and that they would have materially interfered 
with my present purpose. Abb^ Terrasson remarks with 
great justice, that if we estimate the size of a work, not from 
the number of its pages, but from the time which we require 
to make ourselves master of it, it may be said of many a 
book — that it would he much shorter if it were not so short. 
On the other hand, as regards the comprehensibility of a 
system of speculative cognition, connected under a single 
principle, we may say with equal justice — many a book 
would have been much clearer, if it had not been intended 
to be so very clear. For explanations and examples, and 
other helps to intelligibility, aid us in the comprehension of 
parts, but they distract the attention, dissipate the mental 
power of the reader, and stand in the way of his forming a 
clear conception of the whole ^ as he cannot attain soon 
enough to a survey of the system, and the coloring and 
embellishments bestowed upon it prevent his observing 
its articulation or organization — which is the most important 
consideration with him, when he comes to judge of its unity 
and stability. 

The reader must naturally have a strong inducement to 


co-operate with the present author, if he has formed the 
intention of erecting a complete and solid edifice of meta- 
physical science, according to the plan now laid before him. 
Metaphysics, as here represented, is the only science which 
admits of completion — and with little labor, if it is united, 
in a short time ; so that nothing will be left to future genera- 
tions except the task of illustrating and applying it didacti- 
cally. For this science ia nothing more than the inventory 
of all that is given us by pure reason, systematically ar- 
ranged. Nothing can escape our notice; for what reason 
produces from itself cannot lie concealed, but must be 
brought to the light by reason itself, so soon as we have 
discovered the common principle of the ideas we seek. The 
perfect unity of this kind of cognitions, which are based 
upon pure conceptions, and uninfluenced by any empirical 
element, or any peculiar intuition leading to determinate ex- 
perience, renders this completeness not only practicable, but 
also necessary. 

Tecum liabita, et noris quam sit tibi curta supellex. — Persius 

Such a system of pure speculative reason I hope to be 
able to publish under the title of "Metaphysic of Nature." ' 
The content of this work (which will not be half so long) 
will be very much richer than that of the present Critique, 
which has to discover the sources of this cognition and ex- 
pose the conditions of its possibility, and at the same time 
to clear and level a fit foundation for the scientific edifice. 
J.n the present work, I look for the patient hearing and the 
impartiality of a judge; in the other, for the goodwill and 
assistance of a co-laborer. For, however complete the list of 
firinciples for this system may be in the Critique, the correct- 
ness of the system requires that no deduced conceptions 
should be absent. These cannot be presented a priori, but 
must be gradually discovered; and, while the synthesis of 
conceptions has been fully exhausted in the Critique, it is 

' In contradistinction to the Metaphysic of Ethics. This work was nevar 
published. See page 607. — Tr. 


necessary that, in the proposed work, the same should be 
the case with their analysis. But this will be rather an 
amusement than a labor. 


Whether the treatment of that portion of our knowledge 
which lies within the province of pure reason advances with 
that undeviating certainty which characterizes the progress 
of science, we shall be at no loss to determine. If we find 
those who are engaged in metaphysical pursuits unable to 
come to an understanding as to the method which they 
ought to follow; if we find them, after the most elaborate 
preparations, invariably brought to a stand before the goal 
is reached, and compelled to retrace their steps and strike 
into fresh paths, we may then feel quite sure that they are 
far from having attained to the certainty of scientific prog- 
ress, and may rather be said to be merely groping about in 
the dark. In these circumstances we shall render an im- 
portant service to reason if we succeed in simply indicating 
the path along which it must travel, in order to arrive at any 
results — even if it should be found necessary to abandon 
many of those aims which, without reflection, have been 
proposed for its attainment. 

That Logic has advanced in this sure course, even from 
the earliest times, is apparent from the fact that, since 
Aristotle, it has been unable to advance a step, and thus to 
all appearance has reached its completion. I'or, if some of 
the moderns have thought to enlarge its domain by intro- 
ducing psychological discussions on the mental faculties, 
such as imagination and wit, metaphysical discussions on the 
origin of knowledge and the different kinds of certitude, ac- 
cording to the difference of the objects (Idealism, Scepticism, 
and so on), or anthropological discussions on prejudices, their 
causes and remedies: this attempt, on the part of these au- 
thors, only shows their ignorance of the peculiar nature 


of logical science. We do not enlarge, but disfigure the 
sciences when we lose sight of their respective limits, and 
allow them to run into one another. Now logic is inclosed 
within limits which admit of perfectly clear definition; it ia 
a science which has for its object nothing but the exposition 
and proof of the formal laws of all thought, whether it be 
a priori or empirical, whatever be its origin or its object, 
and whatever the difiiculties— natural or accidental — which 
it encounters in the human mind. 

The early success of logic must be attributed exclusively 
to the narrowness of its field, in which abstraction may, or 
rather must, be made of all the objects of cognition with 
their characteristic distinctions, and in which the under- 
standing has only to deal with itself and with its own forms. 
It is, obviously, a much more difficult task for reason to 
strike into the sure path of science, where it has to deal 
not simply with itself, but with objects external to itself. 
Hence, logic is properly only a propaedeutic — forms, as it 
were, the vestibule of the sciences ; and while it is necessary 
to enable us to form a correct judgment with regard to the 
various branches of knowledge, still the acquisition of real, 
substantive knowledge is to be -sought only in the sciences 
properly so called, that is, in the objective sciences. 

Now these sciences, if they can be termed rational at all, 
must contain elements of a priori cognition, and this cogni- 
tion may stand in a twofold relation to its object. Either it 
may have to determine the conception of the object — which 
must be supplied extraneously, or it may have to establish 
its reality. The former is theoretical., the latter practical, 
rational cognition. In both, the pure or a priori element 
must be treated first, and must be carefully distinguished 
from that which is supplied from other sources. Any other 
method can only lead to irremediable confusion. 

Mathematics and Physics are the two theoretical sciences 
which have to determine their objects a priori. The former 
is purely o priori, the latter is partially so, but is ^Iso de- 
pendent on other sources of cognition. 


In the earliest times of whicli history affords us any 
record, mathematics had already entered on the sure course 
of science, among that wonderful nation, the Greeks. Still 
it is not to be supposed that it was as easy for this science to 
strike into, or rather to construct for itself, that royal road, 
as it was for logic, in which reason has only to deal with 
itself. On the contrary, I believe, that it must have re- 
mained long — chiefly among the Egyptians — in the stage of 
blind groping after its true aims and destination, and that 
it was revolutionized by the happy idea of one man, who 
struck out and determined for all time the path which this 
science must follow, and which admits of an indefinite ad- 
vancement. The history of this intellectual revolution — 
much more important in its results than the discovery of the 
passage round the celebrated Cape of Good Hope — and of 
its author, has not been preserved. But Diogenes Laertius, 
in naming the supposed discoverer of some of the simplest 
elements of geometrical demonstration — elements which, ac- 
cording to the ordinary opinion, do not even require to be 
proved — makes it apparent that the change introduced by 
the first indication of this new path must have seemed of the 
utmost importance to the mathematicians of that age, and it 
has thus been secured against the chance of oblivion. A 
new light must have flashed on the mind of the first man 
{ITiales, or whatever may have been his name) who demon- 
strated the properties of the isosceles triangle. For he found 
that it was not sufiicient to meditate on the figure, as it lay 
before his eyes, or the conception of it, as it existed in his 
mind, and thus endeavor to get at the knowledge of its 
properties, but that it was necessary to produce these proper- 
ties, as it were, by a positive a priori construction; and that, 
in order to arrive with certainty at a priori cognition, he 
must not attribute to the object any other properties than 
those which necessarily followed from that which he had 
himself, in accordance with his conception, placed in the 

A much longer period elapsed before Physics entered on 


the highway of science. For it is only about a century and 
a half since the wise Bacon gave a new direction to physical 
studies, or rather — as others were already on the right track 
— imparted fresh vigor to the pursuit of this new direction. 
Here, too, as in the case of mathematics, we find evidence of 
a rapid intellectual revolution. — la the remarks which follow 
I shall confine myself to the empirical side of natural science. 

When Galilei experimented with balls of a definite 
weight on the inclined plane, when ToRRiCELLi caused the 
air to sustain a weight which he had calculated beforehand 
to be equal to that of a definite column of water, or when 
Stahl, at a later period, converted metals into lime, and 
reconverted lime into metal, by the addition and subtraction 
of certain elements;' a light broke upon all natural philoso- 
phers. They learned that reason only perceives that which 
it produces after its own design ; that it must not be content 
to follow, as it were, in the leading-strings of nature, but 
must proceed in advance with principles of judgment ac- 
cording to unvarying laws, and compel nature to reply to 
its questions. For accidental observations, made according 
to no preconceived plan, cannot be united under a necessary 
law. But it is this that reason seeks for and requires. It is 
only the principles of reason which can give to concordant 
phenomena the validity of laws, and it is only when experi- 
ment is directed by these rational principles that it can have 
any real utility. Eeason must approach nature with the 
view, indeed, of receiving information from it, not, however, 
in the character of a pupil, who listens to all that his master 
chooses to tell him, but in that of a judge, who compels the 
witnesses to reply to those questions which he himself 
thinks fit to propose. To this single idea must the revolu- 
tion be ascribed, by which, after groping in the dark for so 
many centuries, natural science was at length conducted 
into the path of certain progress. 

We come now to metaphysics, a purely speculative 

' I do not here follow with exuctnesa the history of the experimental 
method, of which, indeed, the first 8f«ps are involved in some obscurity. 


science, which occupies a completely isolated position, and 
is entirely independent of the teachings of experience. It 
deals with mere conceptions — not, like mathematica, with 
conceptions applied to intuition — and in it, reason is the 
pupil of itself alone. It is the oldest of the sciences, and 
would still survive, even if all the rest were swallowed up 
in the abyss of an all -destroying barbarism. But it has not 
yet had the good fortune to attain to the sure scientific 
method. This will be apparent, if we apply the tests which 
we proposed at the outset. We find that reason perpetually 
comes to a stand, when it attempts to gain a priori the per- 
ception even of those laws which the most common experi- 
ence confirms. We find it compelled to retrace its steps in 
innumerable instances, and to abandon the path on which 
it had entered, because this does not lead to the desired result. 
We find, too, that those who are engaged in metaphysical 
pursuits are far from being able to agree among themselves, 
but that, on the contrary, this science appears to furnish an 
arena specially adapted for the display of skill or the exer- 
cise of strength in mock-contests — a field in which no com- 
batant ever yet succeeded in gaining an inch of ground, in 
which, at least, no victory was ever yet crowned with per- 
manent possession. 

This leads us to inquire why it is that, in metaphjrsics, 
the sure path of science has not hitherto been found. 
Shall we suppose that it is impossible to discover it ? 
Why then should nature have visited our reason with rest- 
less aspirations after it, as if it were one of our weightiest 
concerns ? Nay, more, how little cause should we have to 
place confidence in our reason, if it abandons us in a matter 
about which, most of all, we desire to know the truth — and 
not only so, but even allures us to the pursuit of vain 
phantoms, only to betray us in the end if Or, if the path 
has only hitherto been missed, what indications do we pos- 
sess to guide us in a renewed investigation, and to enable ua 
to hope for greater success tha^, has fallen to the lot of our 
predecessors ? \ 

XI — Science — 2 i 


It appears to me that the examples of mathematics and 
natural philosophy, which, as we have seen, were brought 
into their present condition by a sudden revolution, are 
sufficiently remarkable to fix our attention on the essential 
circumstances of the change which has proved so advan- 
tageous to them, and to induce us to make the experiment 
of imitating them, so far as the analogy which, as rational 
sciences, they bear to metaphysics may permit. It has 
hitherto been assumed that our cognition must conform to 
the objects; but all attempts to ascertain anything about 
these objects a priori, by means of conceptions, and thus 
to extend the range of our knowledge, have been rendered 
abortive by this assumption. Let us then make the experi- 
ment whether we may not be more successful in metaphys- 
ics, if we assume that the objects must conform to our cog- 
nition. This appears, at all events, to accord better with 
the possibility of our gaining the end we have in view, that 
is to say, of arriving at the cognition of objects a priori, of 
determining something with respect to these objects, before 
they are given to us. We here propose to do just what 
Copernicus did in attempting to explain the celestial move- 
ments. When he found that he could make no progress by 
assuming that all. the heavenly bodies revolved round the 
spectator, he reversed the process, and tried the experiment 
of assuming that the spectator revolved, while the stars re- 
mained at rest. We may make the same experiment with 
regard to the intuition of objects. If the intuition must 
conform to the nature of the objects, I do not see how we 
can know anything of them a priori. If, on the other hand, 
the object conforms to the nature of our faculty of intuition, 
1 can then easily conceive the possibility of such an a priori 
knowledge. Now as I cannot rest in the mere intuitions, 
but — if they are to become cognitions — must refer them, as 
representations, to something, as object, and must determine 
the latter by means of the former, here again there are two 
courses open to me. Either:, first, I may assume that th« 
conceptions, by which I efiect this determination, conform 


to the object — and in this case I am reduced to the same 
perplexity as before; or, secondly, I may assume that the 
objects, or, which is the same thing, that experience, in which 
alone, as given objects, they are cognized, conform to my 
conceptions — and then I am at no loss how to proceed. For 
experience itself is a mode of cognition which requires 
understanding. Before objects are given to me, that is, a 
priori, I must presuppose in myself laws of the understand- 
ing which are expressed in conceptions a priori. To these 
conceptions, then, all the objects of experience must neces- 
sarily conform. Now there are objects which reason thinks, 
and that necessarily, but which cannot be given in experi- 
ence, or, at least, cannot be given so as reason thinks them. 
The attempt to think these objects will hereafter furnish an 
excellent test of the new method of thought which we havei 
adopted, and which is based on the principle that we only 
cognize in things a priori that which we ourselves place 
in them.' 

This attempt succeeds as well as we could: desire, and 
promises to metaphysics, in its first part — that is, where it 
is occupied with conceptions a priori, of which the corre- 
sponding objects may be given in experience — the certain 
course of science. For by this new method we are enabled 
perfectly to explain the possibility of a priori cognition, 
and, what is more, to demonstrate satisfactorily the laws 
which lie a priori at the foundation of nature, as the sum of 

' This method, accordingly, which we have borrowed fronl the natural 
philosopher, consists in seeking for the elements of pure reason in that which 
admits of confirmation, or refutation by experiment. Sow the propositions of 
pure reason, especially when they transcend the limits of possible experience, 
do not admit of our making any experiment with their objects, as in natural 
science. Hence, with regard to those conceptions and principles which we 
assume a priori, our only course will be to view them from two different sides. 
We must regard one and the same conception, on the one hcmd, in relation to 
experience as an object of the senses and of the understanding, on the other 
hand, in relation to reason, isolated and transcending the limits of experience, 
as an object of mere thought. Now if we find that, when we regard things 
from this double point of view, the result is in harmony with the principle of 
pure reason, but that, when we regard them from a single point of view, reason 
is involved in self-contradiction, then the experiment will establish the correct- 
ness of tliis distinction 


the objects of experience — neither of which was possible ac- 
cording to the procedure hitherto followed. But from this 
deduction of the faculty of a priori cognition in the first part 
of Metaphysics, we derive a surprising result, and one which, 
to all appearance, militates against the great end of Meta- 
physics, as treated in the second part. For we come to the 
conclusion that our faculty of cognition is unable to tran- 
scend the limits of possible experience; and yet this is pre- 
cisely the most essential object of this science. The estimate 
of our rational cognition a priori at which we arrive is that 
it has only to do with phenomena, and that things in them- 
selves, while possessing a real existence, lie beyond its 
sphere. Here we are enabled to put the justice of this esti- 
mate to the test. For that which of necessity impels us to 
transcend the limits of experience and of all phenomena, is 
the unconditioned, which reason absolutely requires in things 
as they are in themselves, in order to complete the series of 
conditions. Now, if it appears that when, on the one hand, 
we assume that our cognition conforms to its objects as 
things in themselves, the unconditioned cannot be thought 
without contradiction, and that when, on the other hand, we 
assume that our representation of things as they are given to 
us, does not conform to these things as they are in them- 
selves, but that these objects, as phenomena, conform to our 
mode of representation, the contradiction disappears: we 
shall then be convinced of the truth of that which we began 
by assuming for the sake of experiment; we may look upon 
it as established that the unconditioned does not lie in things 
as we know them, or as they are given to us, but in 
things as they are in themselves, beyond the range of our 

' Thia experiment of pure reason has a great similarity to that of the 
Chemists, which they term the experiment of reduction, or, more usually, 
the synthetic process. The analysis of the melaphysicisai separates pure cog- 
nition a priori into two heterogeneons elemenls; viz., the cognition of things as 
phenomena, and of things in themselves. Dialectic combines these again into 
harmony with the necessary rational idea of the unconditioned, and finds that 
thia harmony never results except through the above distinction, which is 
therefore, concluded to be ]uat. 


But, after we have thus denied the power of speculative 
reason tO' make any progress in the sphere of the supersensi- 
ble, it still remains for our consideration whether data, do 
not exist in^ practical cognition, which may enable us to de- 
termine the transcendent conception of the unconditioned, 
to rise beyond the limita of all possible experience from 
a practical point of view, and. thus to satisfy the great ends 
of metaphysics. Speculative reason has thus, at least, made 
room for suijh an extension of our knowledge; and, if it 
must leave this space vacant, still it does not rob us of the 
liberfejT to fill it up, if we can, by means of practical data — 
nay, it even challenges us to make the attempt.' 

This attempt to introduce a complete revolution in the 
procedure of metaphysics, after the example of the Geometri- 
cians and Natural Philosophers, constitutes the aim of ther 
Critique of Pure Speculative Eeason. It is a, treatise on 
the method to be followed, not a system of the science it- 
self. But, at the same time, it marks out and defines both 
the external boundaries and the internal structure of this 
Science. For pure speculative reason has this, peculiarity, 
that, in choosing the various objects, of thought,, it is able 
to define tlue limits of its own faculties, and even to give a 
complete, enumeration of the possible modes of proposing 
problems to itself, and thus to sketch out the entire system 
of metaphysics. For, on the one hand,, in cognition d, priori, 
nothing: must be- attributed to the objects b.ut what the think- 
ing subject derives from itseK; and, on the other hand, rea- 
son is, in regard to the principles of cognition^ a perfectly 

' So the central laws of the movementB of the heavenly bodies established 
the truth of that which Oopemicus, at first, assumed only as a hypothesis, and, 
at the game time, brought to light tUat invisible force (Newtonian attraction) 
which, holds the universe together. The latter would have remained forever 
undiscovered, if Copernicus had not ventured on the experiment — contrary to 
the senses, but still just — of looking for the observed movements not in the 
heavenly bodies^ but in the spectator. In thia Preface I treat the new meta- 
physical method as a hypothesis with the view of rendering apparent the first 
attempts at such a change of method, which are always hypothetical. But 
in the Critique itself it. will be demonstrated, not hi^pothetically,. but apodicti- 
cally, from the nature of onr representations of space and time, and from the 
elementary conceptions of the understanding. 


distinct, independent unity, in which, as in an organized 
body, every member exists for the sake of the others, and 
all for the sake of each, so that no principle can be viewed, 
with safety, in one relationship, unless it is, at the same 
time, viewed in relation to the total use of pure reason. 
Hence, too, metaphysics has this singular advantage — an 
advantage which falls to the lot of no other science which 
has to do with objects — that, if once it is conducted into the 
sure path of science, by means of this criticism, it can then 
take in the whole sphere of its cognitions, and can thus 
complete its work, and leave it for the use of posterity, as 
a capital which can never receive fresh accessions. For 
metaphysics has to deal only with principles and with the 
limitations of its own employment as determined by these 
principles. To this perfection it is, therefore, bound, as the 
fundamental science, to attain, and to it the maxim may 
justly be applied: 

Nil actum reputans, si quid supereaaet agendiim. 

But, it will be asked, what kind of a treasure is this that 
we propose to bequeath to posterity ? What is the real 
value of this system of metaphysics, purified by criticism, 
and thereby reduced to a permanent condition ? A cursory 
view of the present work will lead to the supposition that its 
use is merely negative, that it only serves to warn us against 
venturing, with speculative reason, beyond the limits of ex- 
perience. This is, in fact, its primary use. But this, at 
once, assumes a positive value, when we observe that the 
principles with which speculative reason endeavors to tran- 
scend its limits, lead inevitably, not to the extension, but 
to the contraction of the use of reason, inasmuch as they 
threaten to extend the limits of sensibility, which is their 
proper sphere, over the entire realm of thought, and thus 
to supplant the pure (practical) use of reason. So far, then, 
as this criticism is occupied in confining speculative reason 
within its proper bounds, it is only negative ; but, inasmuch 
«s it thereby, at the same time, removes an obstacle which 


impedes and even threatens to destroy the use of practical 
reason, it possesses a positive and very important value. In 
order to admit this, we have only to be convinced that there 
is an absolutely necessary use of pure reason — the moral use 
— in which it inevitably transcends the limits of sensibility, 
without the aid of speculation, requiring only to be insured 
against the effects of a speculation which would involve it 
in contradiction with itself. To deny the positive advan- 
tage of the service which this criticism renders us, would 
be as absurd as to maintain that the system of police is pro- 
ductive of no positive benefit, since its main business is to 
prevent the violence which citizen has to apprehend from 
citizen, that so each, may pursue his vocation in peace and 
security. That space and time are only forms of sensible 
intuition, and hence are only conditions of the existence of 
things as phenomena; that, moreover, we have no concep- 
tions of the understanding, and, consequently, no elements 
for the cognition of things, except in so far as a correspond- 
ing intuition can be given to these conceptions; that, ac- 
cordingly, we can have no cognition of an object, as a thing 
in itself, but only as an object of sensible intuition, that is, 
as a phenomenon — all this is proved in the Analytical part 
of the Critique ; and from this the limitation of all possible 
speculative cognition to the mere objects of experience, fol- 
lows as a necessary result. At the same time, it must be 
carefully borne in mind that, while we surrender the power 
of cognizing, we still reserve the power of thinking objects, 
as things in themselves. ' For, otherwise, we should require 
to affirm the existence of an appearance, without something 

' In order to cognize an object, I must be able to prove its possibility, either 
from its reality as attested by experience, or a priori, by means of reason. But 
I can think what I please, provided only I do not contradict myself ; that is, 
provided my conception is a possible thought, though I may be unable to 
answer for the existence of a corresponding object in the sum of possibilities. 
But something more is required before I can attribute to such a conception 
objective validity, that is real possibility — the other possibility being merely 
logicaL We are not, however, confined to theoretical sources of cognition for 
the means of satisfying this sidditional requirement, but may derive them from 
practical sources. 


that appears — -which would be absurd. Now let us suppose, 
for a moment, that we had not undertaken this criticism, 
and, accordingly, had not drawn the necessary distinction 
between things, as objects of experience, and things as they 
are in themselves. The principle of causality, and, by con- 
sequence, the mechanism of nature as determined by causal- 
ity, would then hare absolute validity in relation to all 
things as efficient causes. I should then be unable to as- 
sert, with regard to one and the same being, e.g., the human 
soul, that its will is free, and yet, at the same time, subject 
to natural necessity, that is, wo</ree' without falling into a 
palpable contradiction, for in both propositions I should 
take the soul in the same signification, as a thing in general, 
as a thing in itself — as, without previous criticism, I could 
not but take it. Suppose now, on the other hand, that we 
have undertaken this criticism, and have learned that an ob- 
ject may be taken in two senses, first, as a phenomenon, sec- 
ondly, as a thing in itself; and that, according to the deduc- 
tion of the conceptions of the understanding, the principle 
of causality has reference only to things in the first sense. 
We then see how it does not involve any contradiction to 
assert, on the one hand, that the will, in the phenomenal 
sphere — in visible action, is necessarily obedient to the law 
of nature, and, in so far not free; and, on the other hand, 
that, as belonging to a thing in itself, it is not subject to that 
law, and, accordingly, is free. Now, it is true that I cannot, 
by means of speculative reason, and still less by empirical 
observation, cognize my soul as a thing in itself, and conse- 
quently, cannot cognize liberty as the property of a being to 
which I ascribe effects in the world of sense. For, to do so, 
I must cognize this being as existing, and yet not in time, 
which — since I cannot support my conception by any in- 
tuition — is impossible. At the same time, while I cannot 
cognize, I can quite well think freedom, that is to say, my 
representation of it involves at least no contradiction, if we 
bear in mind the critical distinction of the two modes of 
representation (the sensible and the intellectual) and the 


consequent limitation of the conceptions of the pure un- 
derstanding, and of the principles which flow from them. 
Suppose now that morality necessarily presupposed liberty, 
in the strictest sense, as a property of our will; suppose that 
reason contained certain practical, original principles d priori, 
which were absolutely impossible without this presupposi- 
tion; and suppose, at the same time, that speculative reason 
had proved that liberty was incapable of being thought at 
all. It would then follow that the moral presupposition 
must give way to the speculative affirmation, the opposite 
of which involves an obvious contradiction, and that liberty 
and, with it, morality must yield to the mechanism of nature ; 
for the negation of morality involves no contradiction, ex- 
cept on the presupposition of liberty. Now morality does 
not require the speculative cognition of liberty ; it is enough 
that I can think it, that its conception involves no contradic- 
tion, that it does not interfere with the mechanism of nature. 
But even this requirement we could not satisfy, if we had 
not learned the twofold sense in which things may be taken ; 
and it is only in this way that the doctrine of morality and 
the doctrine of nature are confined within their proper lim- 
its. For this result, then, we are indebted to a criticism 
which warns us of our unavoidable ignorance with regard 
to things in themselves, and establishes the necessary limita- 
tion of our theoretical cognition to mere phenomena. 

The positive value of the critical principles of pure rea- 
son in relation to the conception of Ood and of the simple 
nature of the soul, admits of a similar exemplification; but 
on this point I shall not dwell. I cannot even make the as- 
sumption — as the practical interests of morality require — of 
God, Freedom, and Immortality, if I do not deprive specu- 
lative reason of its pretensions to transcendent insight. For 
to arrive at these, it must make use of principles which, in 
fact, extend only to the objects of possible experience, and 
which cannot be applied to objects beyond this sphere with- 
out converting them into phenomena, and thus rendering the 
practical extension of pure reason impossible. I must, there- 


fore, abolish knowledge, to make room for belief. The dog- 
matism of metaphysics, that is, the presumption that it is 
possible to advance in metaphysics without previous criti- 
cism, is the true source of the unbelief (always dogmatic) 
which militates against morality. 

Thus, while it may be no very difficult task to bequeath 
a legacy to posterity, in the shape of a system of metaphys- 
ics constructed in accordance with the Critique of Pure 
Reason, still the value of such a bequest is not to be depre- 
ciated. It will render an important service to reason, by 
substituting the certainty of scientific method for that ran- 
dom groping after results without the guidance of princi- 
ples, which has hitherto characterized the pursuit of meta- 
physical studies. It will render an important service to the 
inquiring mind of youth, by leading the student to apply 
his powers to the cultivation of genuine science, instead of 
wasting them, as at present, on speculations which can never 
lead to any result, or on the idle attempt to invent new ideas 
and opinions. But, above all, it will confer an inestimable 
benefit on morality and religion, by showing that all the ob- 
jections urged against them may be silenced forever by the 
Socratic method, that is to say, by proving the ignorance of 
the objector. For, as the world has never been, and, no 
doubt, never will be, without a system of metaphysics of 
one kind or another, it is the highest and weightiest concern 
of philosophy to render it powerless for harm, by closing up 
the sources of error. 

This important change in the field of the sciences, this 
loss of its fancied possessions, to which speculative reason 
must submit, does not prove in any way detrimental to the 
general interests of humanity. The advantages which the 
world has derived from the teachings of pure reason, are 
not at all impaired. The loss falls, in its whole extent, 
on the monopoly of the schools, but does not in the slight- 
est degree touch the interests of mankind. I appeal to the 
most obstinate dogmatist, whether the proof of the contin- 
ued existence of the soul after death, derived from the sim- 


plicity of its substance; of the freedom of the will in oppo- 
sition to the general mechanism of nature, drawn from the 
subtle but impotent distinction of subjective and objective 
practical necessity; or of the existence of God, deduced 
from the conception of an ens realissimum — the contingency 
of the changeable, and the necessity of a prime mover, has 
ever been able to pass beyond the limits of the schools, to 
penetrate the public mind, or to exercise the slightest influ- 
ence on its convictions. It must be admitted that this has 
not been the case, and that, owing to the unfitness of the 
common understanding for such subtle speculations, it can 
never be expected to take place. On the contrary, it is 
plain that the hope of a future life arises from the feeling, 
which exists in the breast of every man, that the temporal 
is inadequate to meet and satisfy the demands of his nature. 
In like manner, it cannot be doubted that the clear exhibi- 
tion of duties in opposition to all the claims of inclination, 
gives rise to the consciousness of freedom, and that the glo- 
rious order, beauty, and providential care, everywhere dis- 
played in nature, give rise to the belief in a wise and great 
Author of the Universe. Such is the genesis of these gen- 
eral convictions of mankind, so far as they depend on ra- 
tional grounds; and this public property not only remains 
undisturbed, but is even raised to greater importance, by 
the doctrine that the schools have no right to arrogate to 
themselves a more profound insight into a matter of general 
human concernment, than that to which the great mass of 
men, ever held by us in the highest estimation, can without 
difficulty attain, and that the schools should therefore con- 
fine themselves to the elaboration of these universally com- 
prehensible, and, from a moral point of view, amply sat- 
isfactory proofs. The change, therefore, afiEects only the 
arrogant pretensions of the schools, which would gladly 
retain, in their own exclusive possession, the key to the 
truths which they impart to the public. 

Quod mecum nescit, solus vult scire Tideri, 


At the same time it does not deprive the speculative philos- 
oplier of liis just title to be the sole depositor of a science 
which benefits the public withotit its knowledge — I mean, 
the Critique of Ptire Eeason. This can never become pop- 
ular, and, indeed, has no occasion to be so;" for fine-spun 
argiiments in favor of useful truths make just as little im- 
pression on the public mind as the equally subtle objections 
brought against these truths. On the other hand, since both 
inevitably force themselves on every man who rises to the 
height of speculation, it becomes the manifest duty of the 
schools to enter upon a thorough investigation of the rights 
of speculative reason, and thus to prevent the scandal which 
metaphysical controversies are sure, sooner or later, to cause 
even to the masses. It is only by criticism that metaphysi- 
cians (and, as such, theologians too) can be saved from these 
controversies and from the consequent perversion of their 
doctrines. Criticism alone can strike a blow at the root of 
Materialism, Fatalism, Atheism, Free-thinking, Fanaticism, 
and Superstition, which are universally injurious — as well 
as of Idealism and Scepticism, which are dangerous to the 
schools, but can scarcely pass over to the public. If gov- 
ernments think proper to interfere with the affairs of the 
learned, it would be more consistent with a wise regard for 
the interests of science, as well as for those of society, to 
favor a criticism of this kind, by which alone the labors 
of reason can be established on a firm basis, than to support 
the ridiculous despotism of the schools, which raise a loud 
cry of danger to the public over the destruction of cobwebs, 
of which the public has never taken any notice, and the 
loss of which, therefore, it can never feel. 

This critical science is not opposed to the dogmatic pro- 
cedure of reason in pure cognition; for pure cognition must 
always be dogmatic, that is, must rest on strict demonstra- 
tion from sure principles a priori — but to dogmatism, that is, 
to the presumption that it is possible to make any progress 
with a pure cognition, derived from (philosophical) concep- 
tions, according to the principles which reason has long been 


in the habit of employing — withoTit first inqtiiring in what 
way and by what right reason has come into the possession 
of these principles. Dogmatism is thus the dogmatic pro- 
cedure of pure reason withoiit previous criticism of its own 
powers, and in opposing this procedure we must not be sup- 
posed tO' lend any countenance to that loquacious shallow- 
ness which arrogates to itself the name of popularity, nor 
yet to scepticism, which makes short work with the whole 
science of metaphysics. On the contrary, our criticism is 
the necessary preparation for a thoroughly scientific sys- 
tem of metaphysics, which must perform its task entirely 
a priori, to the complete satisfaction of speculative reason, 
and must, therefore, be treated, not popularly, but scholas- 
tically. In carrying out the plan which the Critique pre- 
scribes, that is, in the future system of metaphysics, we 
must hare recourse to the strict method of the celebrated 
"Wolf, the greatest of all dogmatic philosophers. He was 
the first to point out the necessity of establishing fixed prin- 
ciples, of clearly defining our conceptions, and of subjecting 
our demonstrations to the most severe scrutiny, instead of 
rashly jumping at conclusions. The example which he set, 
served to awaken that spirit of profound and thorough in- 
vestigation which is not yet extinct in Germany. He would 
have been peculiarly well fitted to give a truly scientific 
character to metaphysical studies, had it occurred to him 
to prepare the field by a criticism of the organum, that is, of 
pure reason itself. That he failed to perceive the necessity 
of such a procedure, must be ascribed to the dogmatic mode 
of thought which characterized his age, and on this point 
the philosophers of his time, as well as of all previous times, 
have nothing to reproach each other with. Those who reject 
at once the method of Wolf, and of the Critique of Pure 
Keason, can have no other aim but to shake off the fetters 
of science, to change labor into sport, certainty into opinion, 
and philosophy into philodoxy. 

In this second edition, I have endeavored, as far as possi- 
ble, to remove the difficulties and obscurity, which, without 


fault of mine perhaps, have given rise to many misconcep- 
tions even among acute thinkers. In the propositions them- 
selves, and in the demonstrations by which they are sup- 
ported, as well as in the form and the entire plan of the 
work, I have found nothing to alter; which must be attrib- 
uted partly to the long examination to which I had sub- 
jected the whole before offering it to the public, and partly 
to the nature of the case. For pure speculative reason is an 
organic structure in which there is nothing isolated or inde- 
pendent, but every single part is essential to all the rest; 
and hence, the slightest imperfection, whether defect or posi- 
tive error, could not fail to betray itself in use. I venture, 
further, to hope, that this system will maintain the same un- 
alterable character for the future. I am led to entertain this 
confidence, not by vanity, but by the evidence which the 
equality of the result affords, when we proceed, first, from 
the simplest elements up to the complete whole ot pure rea- 
son, and then, backward from the whole to each individual 
part. We find that the attempt to make the slightest alter- 
ation, in any part, leads inevitably to contradictions, not 
merely in this system, but in human reason itself. At 
the same time, there is still much room for improvement 
in the exposition of the doctrines contained in this work. In 
the present edition, I have endeavored to remove misappre- 
hensions of the sesthetical part, especially with regard to the 
conception of Time: to clear away the obscurity which has 
been found in the deduction of the conceptions of the under- 
standing; to supply the supposed want of sufficient evidence 
in the demonstration of the principles of the pure under- 
standing; and, lastly, to obviate the misunderstanding of 
the paralogisms which immediately precede the Rational 
Psychology. Beyond this point — the end of the second 
Main Division of the Transcendental Dialectic — I have not 
extended my alterations,' partly from want of time, and 

• The only addition, properly so called — and that only in the method of 
proof — which I have made in the present edition, consista of a new refutation 
of paychological Idealism, and a strict demonstration — the only one possible, as 


partly because I am not aware that any portion of the re- 
mainder has given rise to misconceptions among intelligent 
and impartial critics, whom I do not here mention with that 
praise which is their due, but who will find that their sug- 
gestions have been attended to in the work itself. 

In attempting to render the exposition of my views as 
intelligible as possible, I have been compelled to leave out 
or abridge various passages which were not essential to the 
completeness of the work, but which many readers might 
consider useful in other respects, and might be unwilling to 
miss. This trifling loss, which could not be avoided with- 
out swelling the book beyond due limits, may be supplied, 
at the pleasure of the reader, by a comparison with the first 
edition, and will, I hope, be more than compensated for by 
the greater clearness of the exposition as it now stands. 

I have observed, with pleasure and thankfulness, in the 

1 believe — of the objective reality of external Intuitioii. However harmless 
Idealism may be considered — although In reality it 13 not so — in regard to the 
essential ends of metaphysics, it must still remain a scandal to philosophy and 
to the general human reason to be obliged to assume, as an article of mere 
belief, the existence of things external to ourselves (from which, yet, we derive 
the whole material of cognition even for the internal sense), and not to be able 
to oppose a satisfactory proof to any one who may call it in question. As there 
is some obscurity of expression in the demonstration as it stands in the text, I 
propose to alter the passage in question as follows : "But this permanent cannot 
be an Intuition in me. For all the determiaing grounds of my existence which 
can be found in me are representations, and, as such, do themselves require a 
permanent, distinct from them, which'may determine my existence In relation 
to their changes, that is, my existence in time, wherein they change." It 
may, probably, be urged in opposition to this proof that, after all, I am only 
conscious immediately of that which is in me, that is, of my representation of 
external things, and that, consequently, it must always remain uncertain 
whether anything corresponding to this representation does or does not exist 
externally to me. But I am conscious through external experience, of my 
existence in time (consequently, also, of the determinability of the former in the 
latter), and that is more than the simple consciousness of my representation. 
It is, in fact, the same as the empirical consciovsness of my existence, which 
can only be determined in relation to something, which, while connected with 
my existence, is external to me. This consciousness of my existence in time is, 
therefore, identical with the consciousness of a relation to something external to 
me, and it is, therefore, experience, not fiction, sense, not imagination, which 
inseparably connects the external with my internal sense. For the external 
sense is, in itself, the relation of intuition to something real, external to me; 
and the reality of this something, as opposed to the mere imagination of it, rests 
solely on its inseparable connection with internal experience as the condition of 
its possibility. If with the intellectual consciousness of my existence, in the 


pages of various reviews and treatises, that the spirit of pro- 
found and thorough investigation is not extinct in Grermany, 
though it may have been overborne and silenced for a time 
by the fashionable tone of a license in thinking, which gives 
itself the airs of genius — and that the difficulties which beset 
the paths of Criticism have not prevented energetic and 
acute thinkers from making themselves masters of the sci- 
ence of pure reason to which these paths conduct — a science 
which is not popular, but scholastic in its character, and 
which alone can hope for a lasting existence or possess an 
abiding value. To these deserving men, who so happily 
combine profundity of view with a talent for lucid exposi- 
tion — a talent which I myself am not conscious of possessing 
— I leave the task of removing any obscurity which may 
still adhere to the statement of my doctrines. For, in this 
case, the danger is not that of being refuted, but of being 
misunderstood. For my own part, I must henceforward ab- 

represeutation : lam, which accompanies all my judgments, and all the opera- 
tions of my understanding, I could, at the same time, connect a determination 
of my existence by inteUectticU intuition, then the consciousness of a relation to 
something external to me would not be necessary. But the internal intuition 
in which alone my existence can be determined, though preceded by that purely 
intellectual consciousness, is itself sensible and attached to the condition of 
time. Hence this determination of my existence, and consequently my internal 
experience itself, must depend on something permanent which is not in me, 
which can be, therefore, only in something external to me, to which I must look 
upon myself as being related. Thus the reality of the external sense is neces- 
sarily connected with that of the internal, in oider to the possibility of experi- 
ence in general; that is, I am just as certainly conscious that there are things 
external to me related to my sense, as I am that I myself jxist, as determined 
in time. But in order to ascertain to what given intuitions objects, external to 
me, really correspond, in other words, what intuitions belong to the external 
sense and not to imagination, I must have recourse, in every particular case, to 
those rules according to which experience in general (even internal experience) 
is distinguished from imagination, and which are always based on the pioposi- 
tion that there really is an external experience. — We may add the remark that 
the representation of something permanent in existence is not the same thing 
as the permanent representation; for a representation may be very irariable and 
changing — as all our representations, even that of matter, are — and yet refer to 
something permanent, which must, therefore, be distinct fiom all my repiesen- 
tatlons and external to me, the existence of which is necessarily included in the 
determination of my own existence, and with it constitutes one experience — an 
experience which would not even be possible internally, if it were not also at 
the same time, in part, external. To the question How t we are no more able 
to reply, than we are, in general, to think the stationary in time, the ooexistenco 
of which, with the variable, produces the conception of change. 


stain from controversy, alfhough I shall carefully attend to 
all suggestions, ■whether from friends or adversaries, which 
may be of use in the future elaboration of the system of this 
Propaedeutic. As, during these labors, I have advanced 
pretty far in years— this month I reach my sixty-fourth 
year — it will be necessary for me to economize time, if I 
am to carry out my plan of elaborating the Metaphysics of 
Nature as well as of Morals, in confirmation of the correct- 
ness of the principles established in this Critique of Pure 
Eeason, both Speculative and Practical; and I must, there- 
fore, leave the task of clearing up the obscurities of the 
present work — inevitable, perhaps, at the outset — as well as 
the defence of the whole, to those deserving men who have 
made my system their own. A philosophical system cannot 
come forward armed at all points like a mathematical trea- 
tise, and hence it may be quite possible to take objection 
to particular passages, while the organic structure of the 
system, considered as a unity, has no danger to apprehend. 
Bat few possess the ability, and still fewer the inclination, 
to take a comprehensive view of a new system. By confin- 
ing the view to particular passages, taking these out of their 
connection and comparing them with one another, it is easy 
to pick out apparent contradictions, especially in a work 
written with any freedom of style. These contradictions 
place the work in an unfavorable light in the eyes of those 
who rely on the judgment of others, but are easily reconciled 
by those who have mastered the idea of the whole. If a 
theory possesses stability in itself, the action and reaction 
which seemed at first to threaten its existence, serve only, 
in the course of time, to smooth down any superficial rough- 
ness or inequality, and — if men of insight, impartiality, and 
truly popular gifts turn their attention to it — to secure to 
it, in a short time, the requisite elegance also. 

KONIOSBERS, April, 1787. 








THAT all our knowledge begins with experience there 
can be no doubt For how is it possible that the 
faculty of cognition should be awakened into exer- 
cise otherwise than by means of objects which affect our 
senses, and partly of themselves produce representations, 
partly rouse our powers of understanding into activity, to 
compare, to connect, or to separate these, and so to convert 
the raw material of our sensuous impressions into a knowl- 
edge of objects, which is called experience ? In respect of 
time, therefore, no knowledge of ours is antecedent to experi- 
ence, but begins with it. 

But, though all our knowledge begins with experience, 
it by no means follows that all arises out of experience. 
For, on the contrary, it is quite possible that our empirical 
knowledge is a compound of that which we receive through 
impressions, and that which the faculty of cognition supplies 
from itself (sensuous impressions giving merely the occa- 
sion), an addition which we cannot distinguish from the 
original element given by sense, till long practice has made 
ns attentive to, and skilful in separating it. It is, therefore, 
a question which requires close investigation, and is not to 
be answered at first sight — whether there exists a knowledge 
altogether independent of experience, and even of all sensu- 
ous impressions ? Knowledge of this kind is called a priori, 



in contradistinction to empirical knowledge, -wliicli lias its 
sources a posteriori, that is, in experience. 

But the expression, "a priori,^' is not as yet definite 
enough, adequately to indicate the whole meaning of the 
question above started. For, in speaking of knowledge 
which has its sources in experience, we are wont to say that 
this or that may be known a priori, because we do not de- 
rive this knowledge immediately from experience, but from 
a general rule, which, however, we have itself borrowed 
from experience. Thus, if a man undermined his house, 
we say, "he might know a priori that it would have fallen"; 
that is, he needed not to have waited for the experience that 
it did actually fall. But still, a priori, he could not know 
even this much. For, that bodies are heavy, and, conse- 
quently, that they fall when their supports are taken away, 
must have been known to him previously, by means of 

^j the term "knowledge a priori,^' therefore, we shall 
in the sequel understand, not such as is independent of this 
or that kind of experience, but such as is absolutely so of all 
experience. Opposed to this is empirical knowledge, or that 
which is possible only a posteriori, that is, through experi- 
ence. Knowledge a priori is either pure or impure. Pure 
knowledge a priori is that with which no empirical element 
is raixed up. For example, the proposition, "Every change 
has a cause," is a proposition a priori, but impure, because 
change is a conception which can only be derived from 




The question now is as to a criterion, by which we may 
securely distinguish a pure from an empirical cognition. 
Experience no doubt teaches us that this or that object is 
constituted in such and such a manner, but not that it could 
not possibly exist otherwise. Now, in the first place, if we 


have a proposition ■which contains the idea of necessity in 
its very conception, it is a judgment a priori; if, moreover, 
it is not derived from any other proposition, unless from one 
equally involving the idea of necessity, it is absolutely 
o priori. Secondly, an empirical judgment never exhibits 
strict and absolute, but only assumed and comparative, uni- 
versality (by induction) ; therefore, the most we can say is — 
so far as we have hitherto observed, there is no exception to 
this or that rule. If, on the other hand, a judgment carries 
with it strict and absolute universality, that is, admits of no 
possible exception, it is not derived from experience, but is 
valid absolutely a priori. 

Empirical universality is, therefore, only an arbitrary 
extension of validity, from that which may be predicated of 
a proposition valid in most cases, to that which is asserted 
of a proposition which holds good in all; as, for example, 
in the affirmation, "all bodies are heavy." When, on the 
contrary, strict universality characterizes a judgment, it 
necessarily indicates another peculiar source of knowledge, 
namely, a faculty of cognition a priori. Necessity and 
strict universality, therefore, are infallible tests for distin- 
guishing pure from empirical knowledge, and are insepara- 
bly connected with each other. But as in the use of these 
criteria the empirical limitation is sometimes more easily de- 
tected than the contingency of the judgment, or the imlimited 
universality which we attach to a judgment is often a more 
convincing proof than its necessity, it may be advisable to 
use the criteria separately, each being by itself infallible. 

Now, that in the sphere of human cognition, we have 
judgments which are necessary, and in the strictest sense 
universal, consequently pure a priori, it will be an easy 
matter to show. If we desire an example from the sciences, 
we need only take any proposition in mathematics. If we 
cast our eyes upon the commonest operations of the undef- 
staading, the proposition, "every change must have a 
cause," will amply serve our purpose. In the latter case, 
indeed, the conception of a cause so plainly involves the 


conceptioTi of a necessity of coTiiiection with an effect, and 
of a strict uniTersality of the law, that the very notion of a 
cause would entirely disappear, were we to derive it, like 
Hume, from a- frequent association of what happens with 
that which precedes, and the habit thence originating of 
connecting representations — the necessity inherent in the 
judgment being therefore merely subjective. Besides, with- 
out seeking for such examples of principles existing a priori 
in cognition, we might easily show that such principles are 
the indispensable basis of the possibility of experience itself, 
and consequently prove their existence a priori. For whence 
could our experience itself acquire certainty, if all the rules 
on which it depends were themselves empirical, and conse- 
quently fortuitous ? No one, therefore, can admit the valid- 
ity of the use of such rules as first principles. But, for the 
present, we may content ourselves with having established 
the fact, that we do possess and' exercise a faculty of pure 
a priori cognition; and, secondly, with having pointed out 
the proper tests of such cognition, namely, universality and 

Not only in judgments, however, but even in concep- 
tions, is an a priori origin manifest. For example, if we 
take away by degrees from our conceptions of a body all 
that can be referred to mere sensuous experience — color, 
hardness or softness, weight, even impenetrability^ — the body 
will then vanish; but the space which it occupied still 
remains, and this it is utterly impossible to annihilate in 
thought. Again, if we take away, in like manner, from our 
empirical conception of any object, corporeal or incorporeal, 
all properties which mere experience has taught us to con- 
nect with it, still we cannot think away those through which 
we cogitate it as substance, or adhering to substance, al- 
though our conception of substance is more determined than 
that of an object. Compelled, therefore, by that necessity 
with which the conception of substance forces itself upon 
us, we must confess that it has its seat in our faculty of 
cognition a priori. 





Of far more importance tliaii all that has been above 
said, is the consideration that certain of our cognitions rise 
completely above the sphere of all possible experience, and 
by means of conceptions, to which there exists in the whole 
extent of experience no corresponding object, seem to ex- 
tend the range of our judgments beyond its bounds. And 
just in this transcendental or supersensible sphere, where 
experience affords us neither instruction nor guidance, lie 
the investigations of Reason, which, on account of their im- 
portance, we consider far preferable to, and as having a far 
more elevated aim than, all that the understanding can 
achieve within the sphere of sensuous phenomena. So high 
a value do we set upon these investigations, that, even at the 
risk of error, we persist in following them out, and permit 
neither doubt nor disregard nor indifference to restrain us 
from the pursuit. These unavoidable problems of mere 
pure reason are GrOD, Freedom (of will) and Immortality. 
The science which, with all its preliminaries, has for its 
especial object the solution of these problems is named meta- 
physics — a science which is at the very outset dogmatical, 
that is, it confidently takes upon itself the execution of this 
task without any previous investigation of the ability or 
inability of reason for such an undertaking. 

Now the safe ground of experience being thus abandoned, 
it seems nevertheless natural that we should hesitate to erect 
a building with the cognitions we possess, without knowing 
whence they come, and on the strength of principles, the 
origin of which is undiscovered. Instead of thus trying to 
build without a foundation, it is rather to be expected that we 
should long ago have put the question, how the understanding 
can arrive at these a priori cognitions, and what is the extent, 
validity, and worth which they may possess ? We say, this 
is natural enough, meaning by the word natural that which is 


consistent with a just and reasonable way of thinking; hut 
if we understand by the term, that which usually happens, 
nothing indeed could be more natural and more comprehen- 
sible than that this investigation should be left long unat- 
tempted. For one part of our pure knowledge, the science 
of mathematics, has been long firmly established, and thus 
leads us to form flattering expectations with regard to others, 
though these may be of quite a different nature. Besides, 
when we get beyond the bounds of experience, we are of 
course safe from opposition in that quarter; and the charm 
of widening the range -of our knowledge is so great, that 
unless we are brought to a standstill by some evident con- 
tradiction, we hurry on undoubtingly in our course. This, 
however, may be avoided, if we are 8uflS.ciently cautious in 
the construction of our fictions, which are not the less fic- 
tions on that account. 

Mathematical science affords us a brilliant example, how 
far, independently of all experience, we may carry our 
a priori knowledge. It is true that the mathematician oc- 
cupies himself with objects and cognitions only in so far 
as they can be represented by means of intuition. But this 
circumstance is easily overlooked, because the said intuition 
can itself be given a priori, and therefore is hardly to be 
distinguished from a mere pure conception. Deceived by 
such a proof of the power of reason, we can perceive no 
limits to the extension of our knowledge. The light dove 
cleaving in free flight the thin air, whose resistance it feels 
might imagine that her movements would be far more free 
and rapid in airless space. Just in the same way did Plato 
abandoning the world of sense, because of the narrow limits 
it sets to the understanding, venture upon the wings of 
ideas beyond it, into the void space of pure intellect. He 
did not reflect that he made no real progress by all Ms 
efforts; for he met with no resistance which might serve him 
for a support, as it were, whereon to rest, and on which he 
might apply his powers, in order to let the intellect acquire 
momentum for its progress. It is, indeed, the common fate 


of human reason in speculation, to finish the imposing edi- 
fice of thought as rapidly as possible, and then for the first 
time to begin to examine whether the foundation is a solid 
one or no. Arrived at this point, all sorts of excuses are 
sought after, in order to console us for its want of stability, 
or rather, indeed, to enable us to dispense altogether with 
so late and dangerous an investigation. But what frees us 
during the process of building from all apprehension or sus- 
picion, and flatters us into the belief of its solidity, is this. 
A great part, perhaps the greatest part, of the business of 
our reason consists in the analyzation of the conceptions 
which we already possess of objects. By this means we gain 
a multitude of cognitions, which although really nothing 
more than elucidations or explanations of that which 
(though in a confused manner) was already thought in our 
conceptions, are, at least in respect of their form, prized as 
new introspections; while, so far as regards their matter 
or content, we have really made no addition to our concep- 
tions, but only disinvolved them. But as this process does 
furnish real a priori knowledge, ' which has a sure progress 
and useful results, reason, deceived by this, slips in, without 
being itself aware of it^ assertions of a quite different kind; 
in which, to given conceptions it adds others, a priori 
indeed, but entirely foreign to them, without our knowing 
how it arrives at these, and,- indeed, without such a question 
ever suggesting itself. I shall therefore at once proceed 
to examine the difference between these two modes of 


.In all judgments wherein the relation of a subject to 
the predicate is cogitated (I mention aiiirmative judgments 
only here; the application to negative will be very easy), 
this relation is possible in two different ways. Either the 

' Not synthetical. — Tr. 
XI — Science — 3 


predicate B belongs to the subject A, as somewhat which is 
contained (though covertly) in the conception A; or the 
predicate B lies completely out of the conception A, al- 
though it stands in connection with it. In the first instance, 
I term the judgment analytical, in the second, synthetical. 
Analytical judgments (affirmative) are therefore those in 
which the connection of the predicate with the subject is 
cogitated through identity; those in which this connection 
is cogitated without identity are called synthetical judg- 
ments. The former may be called explicative, the latter 
augmentative' judgments; because the former add in the 
predicate nothing to the conception of the subject, but 
only analyze it into its constituent conceptions, which were 
thought already ri the subject, although in a confused man- 
ner; the latter add to our conceptions of the subject a predi- 
cate which was not contained in it, and which no analysis 
could ever have discovered therein. For example, when I 
say, "all bodies are extended," this is an analytical judg- 
ment. For I need not go beyond the conception of body 
in order to find extension connected with it, but merely 
analyze the conception, that is, become conscious of the 
manifold properties which I think in that conception, in 
order to discover this predicate in it: it is therefore an 
analytical judgment. On the other hand, when 1 say, "all 
bodies are heavy," the predicate is something totally differ- 
ent from that which I think in the mere conception of a 
body. By the addition of such a predicate, therefore, it 
becomes a synthetical judgment. 

Judgments of experience, as such, are always synthetical. 
For it would be absurd to think of grounding an analytical 
judgment on experience, because, in forming such a judg- 
ment, I need not go out of the sphere of my conceptions, 
and therefore recourse to the testimony of experience ia 
quite unnecessary. That "bodies are extended" is not an 
empirical judgment, but a proposition which stands firm 

• That is, judgmenta which really add to, and do not merely analyze or 
explain the conceptions which malce up the sum of our Isnowledge. — Tr. 


a priori. For before addressing myself to experience, I 
already have in my conception all the requisite conditions 
for the judgment, and I have only to extract the predicate 
from the conception, according to the principle of contradic- 
tion, and thereby at the same time become conscious of the 
necessity of the judgment, a necessity which I could never 
learn from experience. On the other hand, though at first 
I do not at all include the predicate of weight in my concep- 
tion of body in general, that conception still indicates an 
object of experience, a part of the totality of experience, to 
which I can still add other parts ; and this I do when I rec- 
ognize by observation that bodies are heavy. I can cognize 
beforehand by analysis the conception of body through the 
characteristics of extension, impenetrability, shape, etc., all 
which are cogitated in this conception. But now I extend 
my knowledge, and looking back on experience from which 
I had derived this conception of body, I find weight at all 
times connected with the above characteristics, and therefore 
I synthetically add to my conceptions this as a predicate, 
and say, "all bodies are heavy." Thus it is experience 
upon which rests the possibility of the synthesis of the pred- 
icate of weight with the conception of body, because both 
conceptions, although the one is not contained in the other, 
still belong to one another (only contingently, however), as 
parts of a whole, namely, of experience, which is itself 
a synthesis of intuitions. 

But to synthetical judgments a priori, such aid is entirely 
wanting. If I go out of and beyond the conception A, in 
order to recognize another B as connected with it, what 
foundation have I to rest on, whereby to render the syn- 
thesis possible? I have here no longer the advantage of 
looking out in the sphere of experience for what I want. 
Let us take, for example, the proposition, "everything that 
happens has a cause." In the conception of something that 
happens, I indeed think an existence which a certain time 
antecedes, and from this I can derive analytical judgments. 
But the conception of a cause lies qaite oat of the above 


conception, and indicates something entirely diflEerent from 
"that which happens," and is consequently not contained in 
that conception. How then am I able to assert concerning 
the general conception— "that which happens"— something 
entirely different from that conception, and to recognize 
the conception of cause although not contained in it, yet as 
belonging to it, and even necessarily ? what is here the un- 
known — X, upon which tlie understanding rests when it 
believes it has found, out of the conception A a foreign 
predicate B, which it nevertheless considers to be connected 
with it? It cannot be experience, because the principle ad- 
duced annexes the two representations, cause and effect, to 
the representation existence, not -only with universality, 
which experience cannot give, but also with the expression 
of necessity, therefore completely a priori and from pure 
conceptions. Upon such synthetical, that is augmentative 
propositions, depends the whole aim of our speculative 
knowledge a priori; for although analytical judgments are 
indeed highly important and necessary, they are so,' only to 
arrive at that clearness of conceptions which is req^uisite 
for a sure and extended synthesis, and this alone is a real 


1. Mathematical judgments are always syntnecical. 
Hitherto this fact, though incontestably true and very im- 
portant in its consequences, seems to have escaped the ana- 
lysts of the human mind, nay, to be in complete opposition 
to all their conjectures. For as it was found that mathemat- 
ical conclusions all proceed according to the principle of 
contradiction (which the nature of every apodictic certainty 
requires), people became persuaded that the fundamental 
principles of the science also were recognized and admitted 
in the same way. But the notion is fallacious; for although 
a synthetical proposition can certainly be discerned by means 


of the principle of contradiction, this is possible only when 
another synthetical proposition precedes, from which the 
latter is deduced, but never of itself. 

Before all, be it observed, that proper mathematical 
propositions are always judgments a priori, and not em- 
pineal^ because they carry along with them the conception 
of necessity, which cannot be given by experience. If this 
be demurred to, it matters not; I will then limit my asser- 
tion to pure mathematics, the very conception of which im- 
plies, that it consists of knowledge altogether non-empirical 
and a priori. 

We might, indeed, at first suppose that the proposition, 
7+5=12, is a merely aft&lytical proposition, following (ac- 
cording to the principle of contradiction) from the concep- 
tion of a sum of seven and five. But if we regard it more 
narrowly, we find that our conception of the sum of seven 
and five contains nothing more than the uniting of both 
sums into one, whereby it cannot at all be cogitated what 
this single number is which embraces both. The conception 
of twelve is by no means obtained by merely cogitating the 
union of seven and five; and we may analyze our concep- 
tion of such a possible sum as long as we will, still w,e shall 
never discover in it the notion of twelve. We must go be- 
yond these conceptions, and have recourse to an intuition 
which corresponds to one of the two — our five fingers, for 
example, or like Segner in his "Arithmetic," five points, 
and so by degrees add the units contained in the five given 
in the intuition to the conception of seven. J?or I first take 
the number 7, and, for the conception of 5 calling in the aid 
of the fingers of my hand as objects of intuition, I add the 
units, which I before took together to make up the number 
5, gradually now, by means of the material image my hand, 
to the number 7, and by this process I at length see the 
number 12 arise. That 7 should be added to 6, I have cer- 
tainly cogitated in my conception of a sum=7+5, but not 
that this sum was equal to 12. Arithmetical propositions 
are therefore always synthetical, qf which we may become 


more clearly convinced by trying large numbers. For it 
will thus become quite evident, that turn and twist our 
conceptions as we may, it is impossible, without having 
recourse to intuition, to arrive at the sum total or product 
by means of the mere analysis of our conceptions. Just 
as little is any principle of pure geometry analytical. "A 
straight line between two points is the shortest," is a syn- 
thetical proposition. For my conception of straight con- 
tains no notion of quantity, but is merely qualitative. The 
conception of the shortest is therefore wholly an addition, 
and by no analysis can it be extracted from our conception 
of a straight line. Intuition must therefore here lend its aid, 
by means of which, and thus only^ur synthesis is possible. 

Some few principles preposited by geometricians are, 
indeed, really analytical, and depend on the principle of 
contradiction. They serve, however, like identical propo- 
sitions, as links in the chain of method, not as principles^ 
for example, a=a, the whole is equal to itself, or (a+6) 7 a, 
the whole is greater than its part. And yet even these prin- 
ciples themselves, though they derive their validity from 
pure conceptions, are only admitted in mathematics because 
they can be presented in intuition. What causes us here 
commonly to believe that the predicate of such apodictic 
judgments is already contained in our conception, and that 
the judgment is therefore analytical, is merely the equivocal 
nature of the expression. We must join in thought a cer- 
tain predicate to a given conception, and this necessity 
cleaves already to the conception. But the question is, not 
what we must join in thought to the given conception, but 
what we really think therein, though only obscurely, and 
then it becomes manifest, that the predicate pertains to these 
conceptions, necessarily indeed, yet not as thought in the 
conception itself, but by virtue of an intuition, which must 
be added to the conception. 

2. The science of Natural Philosophy (Physics) contains 
in itself synthetical judgments a priori, as principles. I 
shall adduce two propositions. For instance, the proposi- 


tion, "ia all changes of the material world, the quantity of 
matter remains unchanged"; or, that, "in all communication 
of motion, action and reaction must always be equal." In 
both of these, not only is the necessity, and therefore their 
origin a priori clear, but also that they are synthetical prop- 
ositions. For in the conception of matter, I do not cogitate 
its permanency, but Inerely its presence in space, which it 
fills. I therefore really go out of and beyond the concep- 
tioiTor matter, in order to think on to it something a priori, 
which I did not think in it. The proposition is therefore 
not analytical, but synthetical, and nevertheless conceived 
a priori; and so it is with regard to the other propositions 
of the pure part of natural philosophy. 

3. As to Metaphysics, even if we look upon it merely as 
an attempted science, yet, from the nature of human reason, 
an indispensable one, we find that it must contain syntheti- 
cal propositions a priori. It is not merely the duty of meta- 
physics to dissect, and thereby analytically to illustrate the 
conceptions which we form a priori of things; but we seek 
to widen the range of our a priori knowledge. For this 
purpose, we must avail ourselves of such principles as add 
somethingTo^tEe~original conception — something not iden- 
tical with, nor contained in it, and, by means of synthetical 
judgments a priori, leave far behind us the limits of experi- 
ence; for example, in the proposition, "the world must have 
a beginning," and such like. Thus metaphysics, according 
iorthe proper aim of the science, consists merely^ of syntheti- 
c^r^ra^o&iiions apriori. ~ 


It is extremely advantageous to be able to bring a num- 
ber of investigations under the formula of a single problem. 
For in this manner we not only facilitate our own labor, in- 
asmuch as we define it clearly to ourselves, but also render it 
more easy for others to decide whether we have done justice 
to our undertaking. The proper problem of pure reason, 


then, is contained in the question, "How are synthetical 
judgments a priori possible?" 

That metaphysical science has hitherto remained in so 
vacillating a state of uncertainty and contradiction, is only 
to be attributed to the fact, that this great problem, and per- 
haps even the difference between analytical and synthetical 
judgments, did not sooner suggest itself to philosophers. 
Upon the solution of this problem, or upon sufficient proof 
of the impossibility of synthetical knowledge a priori, de- 
pends the existence or downfall of the science of metaphys- 
ics. Among philosophers, David Hume came the nearest of 
all to this problem; yet it never acquired in his mind suffi- 
cient precision, nor did he regard the question in its univer- 
sality. On the contrary, he stopped short at the synthetical 
proposition of the connection of an effect with its cause 
{principium causalitaiis), insisting that such proposition 
a priori was impossible. According to his conclusions, 
then, all that we term metaphysical science is a mere de- 
lusion, arising from the fancied insight of reason into that 
which is in truth borrowed from experience, and to which 
habit has given the appearance of necessity. Against this 
assertion, destructive to all pure philosophy, he would have 
been guarded, had he had our problem before his eyes in its 
■universality. For he would then have perceived that, ac- 
cording to his own argument, there likewise could not. be 
any pure mathematical science, which assuredly cannot exi-^t 
without synthetical propositions a priori — an absurdity f-^c-.'i 
which his good understanding must have saved him. 

In the solution of the above problem is at the same time 
comprehended the possibility of the use of pure reason in 
the foundation and construction of all sciences which con- 
tain theoretical knowledge a priori of objects, that is to say 
the answer to the following questions : 

How is pure mathematical science possible ? 

How is pure natural science possible ? 

Respecting these sciences, as they do certainly exist, it 
may with propriety be asked, how they are possible ?— for 


that they must be possible, is shown by the fact of their 
really existing.' But as to metaphysics, the miserable prog- 
ress it has hitherto made, and the fact that of no one system 
yet brought forward, as far as regards its true aim, can it be 
said that this science really exists, leaves any one at liberty 
to doubt with reason the very possibility of its existence. 

Yet, in a certain sense, this kind of knowledge must 
unquestionably be looked upon as given; in other words, 
metaphysics must be considered as really existing, if not as 
a science, nevertheless as a natural disposition of the human 
mind {metaphysica naturalis). For human reason, without 
any instigations imputable to the mere vanity of great knowl- 
edge, unceasingly progresses, urged on by its own feeling of 
need, toward such questions as cannot be answered by any 
empirical application of reason, or principles derived there- 
from; and so there has ever really existed in every man 
some system of metaphysics. It will always exist, so soon 
as reason awakes to the exercise of its power of speculation. 
And now the question arises — How is metaphysics, as a nat- 
ural disposition, possible ? In other words, how, from the 
nature of universal human reason, do those questions arise 
■which pure reason proposes to itself, and which it is im- 
pelled by its own feeling of need to answer as well as it can ? 

But as in all the attempts hitherto made to answer the 
questions which reason is prompted by its very nature to 
propose to itself, for example, whether the world had a be- 
ginning, or has existed from eternity, it has always met with 
unavoidable contradictions, we must not rest satisfied with 
the mere natural disposition of the mind to metaphysics, that 
is, with the existence of the faculty of pure reason, whence, 
indeed, some sort of metaphysical system always arises; but 

• As to the existence of pure natural science, or physics, perhaps many may 
still express doubts. But we have only to look at the different propositions 
which are commonly treated of at the commencement of proper (empirical) phys- 
ical science — those, for example, relating to the permanence of the same quantity 
of matter, the vis inertias, the equaUty of action and reaction, etc. — to be soon 
convinced that they form a science of pure physics (physica pura, or rationalis), 
which well deserves to be separately exposed as a special science, in its whole 
extent, whether that be great or confined. 


it must be possible to arrive at certainty in regard to the 
question whether we kaow or do not know the things of 
which metaphysics treats. We must be able to arrive at a 
decision on the subjects of its questions, or on the ability or 
inability of reason to form any judgment respecting them; 
and therefore either to extend with confidence the bounds 
of our pure reason, or to set strictly defined and safe limits 
to its action. This last question, which arises out of the 
above universal problem, would properly run thus: How 
is metaphysics possible as a science? 

Thus the critique of reason leads at last, naturally and 
necessarily, to science; and, on the other hand, the dogmat- 
ical use of reason without criticism leads to groundless asser- 
tions, against which others equally specious can always be 
set, thus ending unavoidably in scepticism. 

Besides, this science cannot be of great and formidable 
prolixity, because it has not to do with objects of reason, the 
variety of which is inexhaustible, but merely with reason 
herself and her problems; problems which arise out of her 
own bosom, and are not proposed to her by the nature of 
outward things, but by her own nature. And when once 
reason has previously become able completely to understand 
her own power in regard to objects which she meets with in 
experience, it will be easy to determine securely the extent 
and limits of her attempted application to objects beyond 
the confines of experience. 

We may and must, therefore, regard the attempts hitherto 
made to establish metaphysical science dogmatically as non- 
existent. For what of analysis, that is, mere dissection of 
conceptions, is contained in one or other, is not the aim of 
but only a preparation for metaphysics proper, which has 
for its object the extension, by means of synthesis, of our 
a priori knowledge. And for this purpose, mere analysis is 
of course useless, because it only shows what is contained in 
these conceptions, but not how we arrive, a priori^ at them- 
and this it is her duty to show, in order to be able afterward 
to determine their valid use in regard to all objects of expe- 


rience, to all knowledge in general. But little self-denial, 
indeed, is needed to give up these pretensions, seeing the 
undeniable, and in the dogmatic mode of procedure, inevi- 
table contradictions of Reason with herself, have long since 
ruined the reputation of every system of metaphysics that 
has appeared up to this time. It will require more firmness 
to remain undeterred by difficulty from within, and opposi- 
tion from without, from endeavoring, by a method quite op- 
posed to all those hitherto followed, to further the growth 
and fruitfulness of a science indispensable to human reason 
— a science from which every branch it has borne may be 
cut away, but whose roots remain indestructible. 


From all that has been said, there results the idea of a 
particular science, which may be called the Critique of -Pure 
Reason. For reason is the faculty which furnishes us with 
the principles of knowledge a ^priori. Hence, pure reason 
is the faculty which contains tihe principles of cognizing 
anything absolutely a priori. An Organon of pure reason 
would be a compendium of those principles according to 
which alone all pure cognitions a priori can be obtained. 
The completely extended application of such an organon 
would a£Eord us a system of pure reason. As this, however, 
is demanding a great deal, and it is yet doubtful whether 
any extension of our knowledge be here possible, or if so, 
in what cases, we can regard a science of the mere criticism 
of pure reason, its sources and limits, as the propedeutic to a 
system of pure reason. Such a science must not be called 
a Doctrine, but only a Critique of pure Reason; and its use, 
in regard to speculation, would be only negative, not to en- 
large the bounds of, but to purify our reason, and to shield 
it against error^-which alone is no little gain. Lapply the 
term- i^'awscfiKfifea^a? to all knowledge which is not so much 
occupied with objects as with the mode of our cognition of 
these objects, so far as this mode of cognition is possible 


a priori. A system of such conceptions would be called 
Transcendental Philosophy. But this, again, is still beyond 
the bounds of our present essay. For as such a science must 
contain a complete exposition not only of our synthetical a 
priori, but of our analytical a priori knowledge, it is of too 
wide a range for our present purpose, because we do not re- 
quire to carry our analysis any further than is necessary to 
understand, in their full extent, the principles of synthesis 
a priori, with which alone we have to do. This investiga- 
tion, which we cannot properly call a doctrine, but only a 
transcendental critique, because it aims not at the enlarge- 
ment, but at the correction and guidance of our knowledge, 
and is to serve as a touchstone of the worth or worthlessness 
of all knowledge a priori, is the sole object of our present 
essay. Such a critique is consequently, as far as possible, a 
jjreparation for an organon; and if this new organon should 
be foti^d to fail, at least for a canon of pure reason, accord- 
ing to which the complete system of the philosophy of pure 
reason, whether it extend or limit the bounds of that reason, 
might one day be set forth both analytically and syntheti- 
cally. For that this is possible, nay, that such a system is 
not of so great extent as to preclude the hope of its ever 
being completed, is evident. For we have not here to do 
with the nature of outward objects, which is infinite, but 
solely with the mind, which judges of the nature of objects, 
and, again, with the mind only in respect of its cognition 
a priori. And the object of our investigations, as it is 
not to be sought without, but altogether within ourselves, 
cannot remain concealed, and in all probability is limited 
enough to be completely surveyed and fairly estimated, 
according to its worth or worthlessness. Still less let the 
reader here expect a critique of books and systems of pure 
reason; our present object is exclusively a critique of the 
faculty of pure reason itself. Only when we make this 
critique our foundation do we possess a pure touchstone for 
estimating the philosophical value of ancient and modern 
writings on this subject; and without this criterion, the in- 


competent historian or judge decides upon and corrects 
groundless assertions of others with his own, which ha\ 
themselves just as little foundation. 

Transcendental philosophy is the idea of a science, for 
which the Critique of Pure Reason must sketch the whole 
plan architectonically, that is, from principles, with a full 
guarantee for the validity and stability of all the parts which 
enter into the building. It is the system of all the principles 
of pure reason. If this Critique itself does not assume the 
title of transcendental philosophy, it is only because, to be 
a complete system, it ought to contain a full analysis of all 
human knowledge a priori. Our critique must, indeed, lay 
before us a complete enumeration of all the radical concep- 
tions which constitute the said pure knowledge. But from 
the complete analysis of these conceptions themselves, as 
also from a complete investigation of those derived from 
them, it abstains with reason ; partly because it would be de- 
viating from the end in view to occupy itself with this analy- 
sis, since this process is not attended with the difficulty 
and insecurity to be found in the synthesis, to which our 
critique is entirely devoted, and partly because it would be 
inconsistent with the unity of our plan to burden this essay 
with the vindication of the completeness of such an analysis 
and deduction, with which, after all, we have at present 
nothing to do. This completeness of the analysis of these 
radical conceptions, as well as of the deduction from the 
conceptions a priori which may be given by the analysis, 
we can, however, easily attain, provided only that we are in 
possession of all these radical conceptions, which are to serve 
as principles of xne synthesis, and that in respect of this 
main purpose nothing is wanting. 

To the Critique of Pure Eeason, therefore, belongs all 
that constitutes transcendental philosophy; and it is the 
complete idea of transcendental philosophy, but still not 
the science itself; because it only proceeds so far with the 
analysis as is necessary to the power of judging completely 
of our synthetical knowledge a priori. 


a rJ^he principal thing we must attend to, in the division of 
le parts of a science like this, is: that no conceptions must 
enter it which contain aught empirical; in other words, that 
the knowledge a priori must be completely pure. Hence, 
although the highest principles and fundamental conceptions 
of morality are certainly cognitions a priori, yet they do not 
belong to transcendental philosophy; because, though they 
certainly do not lay the conceptions of pain, pleasure, de- 
sires, inclinations, etc. (which are all of empirical origin), at 
the foundation of its precepts, yet still into the conception 
of duty — as an obstacle to be overcome, or as an incitement 
which should not be made into a motive — these empirical 
conceptions must necessarily enter, in the construction of 
a system of pure morality. Transcendental philosophy is 
consequently a philosophy of the pure and merely specula- 
tive reason. For all that is practical, so far as it contains 
motives, relates to feelings, and these belong to empirical 
sources of cognition. 

If we wish to divide this science from the universal point 
of view of a science in general, it ought to comprehend, iirst, 
a Doctrine of the Elements, and, secondly, a Doctrine of the 
Method of pure reason. Bach of these main divisions will 
have its subdivisions, the separate reasons for which we 
cannot here particularize. Oaly so much seems necessary, 
by way of introduction or premonition, that there are two 
sources of human knowledge (which probably spring from 
a common, but to us unknown, root), namely, sense and 
understanding. By the former, objects are given to us ; by 
the latter, thought. So far as the faculty of sense may con- 
tain representations a priori, which form the conditions 
under which objects are given, in so far it belongs to 
transcendental philosophy. The transcendental doctrine of 
sense must form the first part of our science of elements, 
because the conditions under which alone the objects of 
human knowledge are given must precede those under which 
they are thought. 



§ 1. Introductory 

IN wkatsoever mode, or by whatsoever means, our knowl- 
edge may relate to objects, it is at least quite clear, that 
the only manner in which it immediately relates to them 
is by means of an intuition. To this, as the indispensable 
groundwork, all tbonght points. But an intuition can take 
place only in so far as the object is given to us. This, 
again, is only possible, to man at least, on condition that the 
object afEect the mind in a certain manner. The capacity for 
receiving representations (receptivity) through the mode in 
which we are affected by objects, is called sensibility. By 
means of sensibility, therefore, objects are given to us, and 
it alone furnishes us with intuitions; by the understanding 
they are thoucfht, and from it arise conceptions. But all 
thought must directly, or indirectly, by means of certain 
signs, relate ultimately to intuitions ; consequently, with us, 
to sensibility, because in no other way can an object be 
given to us. 

The effect of an object upon the faculty of representation, 
so far as we are affected by the said object, is sensation. 
That sort of intuition which relates to an object by means 
ol_s.ejiSation, is called ah empirical intuition. The undeter- 
mined object of an empirical intuition, is called pAewowiewow. 
That which in the phenomenon corresponds to the sensation, 
nerm its matter; but that which effects that the content of 


the phenomenon can be arranged under certain reJitions, I 
call its form. But that in which our sensations are merely 
arranged, and by which they are susceptible of assuming 
a certain form, cannot be itself sensation. It is, then, the 
matter of all phenomena that is given to us a posteriori; the 
form must lie ready a priori for them in the mind, and con- 
sequently can be regarded separately from all sensation. 

I call all representations pure, in the transcendental mean- 
ing of the word, wherein nothing is met with that belongs 
to sensation. And accordingly we find existing in the mind 
a priori, the pure form of sensuous intuitions in general, in 
which all the manifold content of the phenomenal world is 
arranged and viewed under certain relations. This pure 
form of sensibility I shall call pure intuition. Thus, if I 
take away from our representation of a body all that the 
understanding thinks as belonging to it, as substance, force, 
divisibility, etc., and also whatever belongs to sensation, 
as impenetrability, hardness, color, etc. ; yet there is still 
something left us from this empirical intuition, namely, ex- 
tension and shape. These belong to pure intuition, which 
exists a priori in the mind, as a mere form of sensibility, and 
without_any:.real object of the senses or any sensation. 

The science o£- all- the principles of sensibility a priori, 
I call Transcendental Esthetic' There must, then, be such 
a science, forming the first part of the transcendental doc- 
trine of elements, in contradistinction to that part which 

' The Germans are the only people who at present use this word to indicate 
what others called the critique of taste. At the foundation of this term lies the 
disappointed hope, which the eminent analyst, Baumgarten, conceived, of sub- 
jecting the criticism of the beautiful to principles of reason, and so of elevatino- 
its rules into a science. But his endeavors were vain. For the said rules or 
criteria are, in respect to their chief sources, merely empirical, consequently 
never can serve as determinate laws a priori, by which our judgment in matters 
of taste is to be directed. It is rather our judgment which forms the proper 
teat as to the correctness of the principles. On tliis account it is advisable to 
give up the use of the term as designating the critique of taste, and to apply it 
solely to that doctrine, which is true science — the science of the laws of sensi- 
bility — and thus come nearer to the language and the sense of the ancients in 
their well-known division of the objects of cognition into aioAirra «« fottto or to 
share it with speculative philosophy, and employ it partly in a transcendental 
partly in a psychological signification. 


contains the principles of pure thought, and which is called 
transcendental logic. 

In the science of transcendental aesthetic accordingly, we 
shall first isolate sensibility or the sensuous faculty, by 
separating from it all that is annexed to its perceptions by 
the conceptions of understanding, so that nothing be left but 
empirical intuition. In the next place we shall take away 
from this intuition all that belongs to sensation, so that noth- 
ing may remain but pure intuition, and the mere form of 
phenomena, which is all that the sensibility can afiEord a 
priori. From this investigation it will be found that there 
are two j mreforms of sensuous intuition, as principles of 
knowledge a priori, namely, space and time. To the con- 
sideration of these we shall now proceed. 



§ 2. Metaphysical Exposition of this Conception 

By means of the external sense (a property of the mind), 
we represent to ourselves objects as without us, and these all 
in space. Therein alone are their shape, dimensions, and 
relations to each other determined or determinable. The 
internal sense, by means of which the mind contemplates 
itself or its internal state, gives, indeed, no intuition of the 
soul as an object; yet there is. nevertheless a determinate 
form, under which alone the contemplation of our internal 
state Js^ possible, so that all which relates to the inward de- 
terminations of the mind is represented in relations _of€me. 
Of time we cannot have any external intuition, any more" 
than we can have an internal intuition of space. What then 
are time and space? Are they real existences? Or, are 
they merely relations or determinations of things, such, how- 
ever, as would equally belong to these things in themselves, 
though they should never become objects of intuition; or, 
are they such as belong only to the form of intuition, and 
consequently to the subjective constitution of the mind. 


without which these predicates of time and space could not 
♦be attached to any object? In order to become informed 
on these points, we shall first give an exposition of the con- 
ception of space. Bj exposition, I mean the clear, though 
not detailed, representation of that which belongs to a con- 
ception; and an exposition is metaphysical, when it contains 
that which represents the conception as given a priori. 

1. Space is not a conception which has been derived 
from outward experiences. For, in order that certain sen- 
sations may relate to something without me (that is, to 
something which occupies a diflEerent part of space from 
that in which I am); in like manner, in order that I may 
represent them not merely as without of and near to each 
other, but also in separate places, the representation of 
space must already exist as a foundation. Consequently, 
the representation of space cannot be borrowed from the 
relations of external phenomena through experience; but, 
on the contrary, this external experience is itself only pos- 
sible through the said antecedent representation. 

2. Space then is a necessary representation d priori, 
which serves for the foundation of all external intuitions. 
We nevei can imagine or make a representation to ourselves 
of the non-existence of space, though we may easily enough 
think that no objects are found in it. It must, therefore, be 
considered as the condition of the possibility of phenomena, 
and by no means as a determination dependent on them, and 
is a representation d priori, which necessarily supplies the 
basis for external phenomena. 

3. Space is no discursive, or, as we say, general concep- 
tion of the relations of things, but a pure intuition. For, in 
the first place, we can only represent to ourselves one space, 
and when we talk of divers spaces, we mean only parts of 
one and the same space. Moreover, these parts cannot ante- 
cede this one all-embracing space, as the component parts 
from which the aggregate can be made up, but can be 
cogitated only as existing in it. Space is essentially one, 
and multiplicity in it, consequently the general notion of 


spaces, of this or that space, depends solely upon limita- 
tions. Hence it follows that an d, priori intuition (which is* 
not empirical), lies at the root of all our conceptions of 
space. Thus, moreover, the principles of geometry — for 
example, that "in a triangle, two sides together are greater 
than the third" — are never deduced from general concep- 
tions of line and triangle, but from intuition, and this 
& priori, with apodictic certainty. 

4. Space is represented as an infinite given quantity. 
Now every conception must indeed be considered as a 
representation which is contained in an infinite multitude 
of difEerent possible representations, which, therefore, com- 
prises these under itself; but no conception, as such, can 
be so conceived, as if it contained within itself an infinite 
multitude of representations. Nevertheless, space is so con- 
ceived of, for all parts of space are equally capable of being 
produced to infinity. Consequently, the original representa- 
tion of space is an intuition d, priori, and not a conception. 

§ 3. Transcendental exposition of the conception of Space 

By a transcendental exposition, I mean the explanation 
of a conception, as a principle, whence can be discerned the 
possibility of other synthetical a priori cognitions. For this 
purpose, it is requisite, first, that such cognitions do really 
flow from the given conception ; and, secondly, that the said 
cognitions are only possible under the presupposition of a 
given mode of explaining this conception. 

Geometry is a science which determines the properties of 
space synthetically, and yet a -pMori._ What, then, must be 
our representation of space, in order that such a cognition 
of it may be possible ? It must be originally intuition, for 
from a mere conception no propositions can be deduced 
which go out beyond the conception,' and yet this happens 
in geometry. (Introd. V.) But this intuition must be found 

' That }a, the analysis of a conception only g^ves you what is contained in 
it, and does not add to your Imowledge of the object of which you have a con- 
ception, but merely evolves it. — Tr. 


,in the mind a priori, that is, before any perception of ob- 
;*jects, consequently must be pure, not empirical, intuition. 
For geometrical principles are always apodictio, that is, 
united with the consciousness of their necessity, as, "Space 
has only three dimensions." But propositions of this kind 
cannot be empirical judgments, nor conclusions from them. 
(Introd. II.) Now, how can an external intuition anterior 
to objects themselves, and in which our conception of 
objects can be determined a priori, exist in the human 
mind ? Obviously not otherwise than in so far as it has its 
seat in the subject only, as the /brrwaZ capacity of the sub- 
ject's being affected by objects, and thereby of obtaining 
immediate representation, that is, intuition; consequently, 
only as the /orm of the external sense in general. 

Thus it is only by means of our explanation that the 
possibility of geometry, as a synthetical science a priori, 
becomes comprehensible. Every mode of explanation which 
does not show us this possibility, although in appearance it 
may be similar to ours, can with the utmost certainty be 
distinguished from it by these marks. 

§ 4. Conclusions from the foregoing conceptions 

(a) Space does not represent any property of objects 
as things in themselves, nor does it represent them in their 
relations to each other; in other words, space does not rep- 
resent to us any determination of objects such as attaches to 
the objects themselves, and would remain, even though all 
subjective conditions of the intuition were abstracted. For 
neither absolute nor relative determinations of objects can 
be intuited prior to the existence of the things to which 
they belong, and therefore not a priori. 

(6) Space is nothing else than the form of all phenomena 
of the external sense, that is, the subjective condition &f the 
sensibility, under which alone external intuition is possible. 
Now, because the receptivity or capacity of the subject to 
be affected by objects necessarily antecedes all intaitioins 
of these objects, it is easily understood how the form of all 


phenomena can be given in the mind previous to all actual 
perceptions, therefore a priori, and how it, as a pure intui- 
tion, in which all objects must be determined, can contain 
principles of the relations of these objects prior to all 

It is therefore^om^jthe human point of view only that 
■we can speak of space, extended objects, etc. If we depart 
from the"subjective condition, under which alone we can 
obtain external intuition, or, in other words, by means of 
which we are affected by objects, the representation of space 
has no meaning whatsoever. This predicate [of space] is 
only applicable to things in so far as they appear to us, that 
is, are objects of sensibility. The constant form of this re- 
ceptivity, which we call sensibility, is a necessary condition 
of all relations in which objects can be intuited as existing 
without us, and when abstraction of these objects is made, 
is a pure intuition, to which we give the name of space. It 
is clear that we cannot make the special conditions of sensi- 
bility into conditions of the possibility of things, but only 
of the possibility of their existence as far as they are phe- 
nomena. And so we may correctly say that space contains 
all which can appear to us externally, but not all things 
considered as things in themselves, be they intuited or not, 
or by whatsoever subject one will. As to the intuitions of 
other thinking beings, we cannot judge whether they are or 
are not bound by the same "conditions which limit our own 
intuition, and which for us are universally valid. If we join 
the limitation of a judgment to the conception of the subject, 
then the judgment will possess unconditioned validity. For 
example, the proposition, "All objects are beside each other 
in space," is valid only under the limitation that these things 
are taken as objects of our sensuous intuition. But if I join 
the condition to the conception, and say, "all things, as ex- 
ternal phenomena, are beside each other in space," then the 
rule is valid universally, and without any limitation. Our 
expositions, consequently, teach the reality {i.e., the objective 
validity) of space in regard of all which can be presented to 


US externally as object, and at the same time also the ideality 
of space in regard to objects when they are considered by 
means of reason as things in themselves, that is, without 
reference to the constitution of our sensibility. We main- 
tain, therefore, the empirical reality of space in regard to all 
possible external experience, although we must admit its 
transcendental ideality; in other words, that it is nothing, 
so soon as we withdraw the condition upon which the pos- 
sibility of all experience depends, and look upon space 
as something that belongs to things in themselves. 

But, with the exception of space, there is no representa- 
tion, subjective and referring to something external to us, 
which could be called objective a priori. For there are no 
other subjective representations from which we can deduce 
synthetical propositions a priori , as we can from the intui- 
tion of space. (See § 3.) Therefore, to speak accurately, 
no ideality whatever belongs to these, although they agree 
in this respect with the representation of space, that they be- 
long merely to the subjective nature of the mode of sensuoas 
perception; such a mode, for example, as that of sight, of 
hearing, and of feeling, by means of the sensations of color, 
sound, and heat, but which, because they are only sensa- 
tions, and not intuitions, do not of themselves give ns the 
cognition of any object, least of all, an a priori cognition. 
My purpose, in the above remark, is merely this: to guard 
any one against illustrating the asserted ideality of space by 
examples quite insufficient, for example, by color, taste, etc. • 
for these must be contemplated not as properties of things 
but only as changes in the subject, changes which may be 
difEerent in different men. For in such a case, that' which is 
originally a mere phenomenon, a rose, for example, is taken 
by the empirical understanding for a thing in itself, though 
to every different eye, in respect of its color, it may appear 
different. On the contrary, the transcendental conceptiou of 
phenomena in space is a critical admonition, that, in general 
nothing which is intuited in space is a thing in itself, and 
that space is not a form which belongs as a property to 


tilings ; but tliat objects are quite unknown to us in them- 
selves, and what we call outward objects, are nothing else 
but mere representations of our sensibility, whose form is 
space, but whose real correlate, the thing in itself, is not 
known by means of these representations, nor ever can be, 
but respecting which, in experience, no inquiry is ever 



§ 6. Metaphysical exposition of this conception 

1. Tiine_js_not_an_empirical conception. For neither 
coexistence nor succession would be perceived by us, if the 
representation of time did not exist as a foundation a priori. 
Without this presupposition we could not represent to our- 
seive^-that things exist together at one and the same time, 
or^ different times, that is, contemporaneously, or in 

2.''^'^f^ime is a necessary representatiou, lying at the foun- 
dation of all our intuitions. With regard to phenomena in 
general, we cannot think away time from them, and repre- 
sent them to ourselves as out of and unconnected with time, 
but we can quite well represent to ourselves time void of 
phenomena. Time is therefore given a priori. In it alone 
is all reality of phenomena possible. These may all be an- 
nihilated in thought, but time itself, as the universal condi- 
tion of their possibility, cannot be so annulled. 

3. On this necessity a priori, is also founded the pos- 
sibility of apodictic principles of the relations of time, or 
axioms of time in general, such as, "Time has Qply one 
dimension," "Different times are not coexistent^^ succes- 
sive" (as different spaces are not successive but coexistent). 
These principles cannot be derived from experience, for it 
would give neither strict universality, nor apodictic cer- 
tainty. We should only be able to say, "so common ex- 
perience teaches us," but not it must be so. They are 
valid as rules, through which, in general, experience is 


possible; and they instruct us respecting experience, and 
not by means of it. 

4. Time is not a discursive, or as it is called, general 
conception, but a pure form of the sensuous intuition. Dif- 
ferent times are merely parts of one and the same time. 
But the representation which can only be given by a single 
object is an intuition. Besides, the proposition that differ- 
ent times cannot be coexistent, could not be derived from a 
general conception. For this proposition is synthetical, and 
therefore cannot spring out of conceptions alone. It is 
therefore contained immediately in the intuition and repre- 
sentation of time. 

5. The infinity of time signifies nothing more than that 
every determined quantity of time is possible only through 
limitations of one time lying at the foundatioc- Conse- 
quently, the original representation, time, must be gi^eo as 
unlimited. But as the determinate representation of /the 
parts of time and of every quantity of an object can only- be 
obtained by limitation, the complete representation 4^. time 
must not be furnished by means of conceptions, for these 
contain only partial representations. Conceptions, on the 
contrary, must have immediate intuition for their basis. 

§ 6. Transcendental exposition of the conception of time 

I may here refer to what is said above (§ 5, 3), where, 
for the sake of brevity, I have placed under the head of met- 
aphysical exposition, that which is properly transcendental. 
Here I shall add that the conception of cbange, and with it 
the conception of motion, as change of place, is possible 
only through and in the representation of time; that if 
this representation were not an intuition (internal) a priori, 
no conception, of whatever kind, could render comprehen- 
sible the possibility of change, in other words, of a con- 
junction of contradictorily opposed predicates in one and 
the same object, for example, the presence of a thing in a 
place and the non-presence of the same thing in the same 
place. It is only in time, that it is possible to meet with 


two contradictorily opposed determinations in one thing, 
that is, after each other." Thus our conception of time 
explains the possibility of so much synthetical knowledge 
a priori, as is exhibited in the general doctrine of motion, 
which is not a little fruitful. 

§ 7. Conclusions from the above conceptions 
{a) Time is not something which subsists of itself, or 
which inheres in things as an objective determination, and 
therefore remains, when abstraction is made of the subjec- 
tive conditions of the intuition of things. For in the former 
case, it would be something real, yet without presenting to 
any power of perception any real object. In the latter case, 
as an order or determination inherent in things themselves, 
it could not be antecedent to things, as their condition, nor 
discerned or intuited by means of synthetical propositions 
a priori. But all this is quite possible when we regard time 
as merely the subjective condition under which all our intui- 
tions take place. For in that case, this form of the inward 
intuition can be represented prior to the objects, and conse- 
quently a priori. 

(6) Tmie_is_ nothing else than__tlie_Joxm^of_the._in.terjial 
sense, that_ is, -of T;heTntuitions of self aad of our internal 
state. _ For time cannot be_ any determination of outward 
phenomena. It^has to do neither with shape nor position; 
on the contrary, it determines the relation of representations 
in „our internal state. And precisely because this internal 
intuition presents to us no shape or form, we endeavor to 
supply this want by analogies, and represent the course of 
time by a line progressing to infinity, the content of which 
constitutes a series which is only of one dimension; and we 
conclude from the properties of this line as to all the prop- 
erties of time, with this single exception, that the parts of 
the line are coexistent, while those of time are successive. 

' Kant's meaning is; You cannot affirm and deny the same thing of a subject, 
except by means of the representation, time. No other idea, intuition, or con- 
ception, or whatever other form of thought there be, can mediate the connection 
of such predicates. — Tr. 
XI — Science — 1 


From this it is clear also that the representation of time is 
itself an intuition, because all its relations can be expressed 
in an external intuition. 

(c) Time is the formal condition a priori of all phenoiiiena 
whatsoever. Space, as the pure form of external intuition, 
is limited as & condition a priori to external phenomena 
alone. On the other hand, because all representations, 
■whether they have or have not external things for their 
objects, still in themselves, as determinations of the mind, 
belong to our internal state; and because this internal state 
is subject to the formal condition of the internal intuition, 
that is, to time — time is a condition a priori of all phenom- 
ena whatsoever — the immediate condition of all internal, and 
thereby the mediate condition of all external phenomena. If 
I can say a priori, "all outward phenomena are in space, 
and determined a priori according to the relations of space," 
I can also, from the principle of the internal sense, affirm 
universally, "all phenomena in general, that is, all objects 
of the senses, are in time, and stand necessarily in relations 
of time." 

If we abstract our internal intuition of ourselves, and all 
external intuitions, possible only by virtue of this internal 
intuition, and presented to us by our faculty of representa- 
tion, and consequently take objects as they are in them- 
selves, then time is nothing. It is only of objective validity 
in regard to phenomena, because these are things which we 
regard as objects of our senses. It is no longer objective, if 
we make abstraction of the sensuousness of our intuition, 
in other words, of that mode of representation which is pe- 
culiar to us, and speak of things in general. Time is there- 
fore merely a subjective condition of our (human) intuition 
(which IS always sensuous, that is, so far as we are affected 
by objects), and in itself, independently of the mind or sub- 
ject, is nothing. Nevertheless, in respect of all phenomena 
consequently of all things which come within the sphere of 
our experience, it is necessarily objective. We cannot say 
"all things are in time," because, in this conception of things 


in gemeral, we abstract and make no mention of any sort of 
intuition of things. But this is the proper condition under 
which time belongs to our representation of objects. If we 
add the condition to the conception, and say, "all things, 
as phenomena, that is, objects .of sensuous intuition, are in 
time," then the proposition has its sound objective validity 
and universality a priori. 

What we have now set forth teaches, therefore, the^m- 
pirical reality_^„tiiaej.,that is, its />bjective validity in 
reference to all objects which can ever be presented to our 
senses. And as our intuition is always sensuous, no object 
ever can be presented to us in experience, which does not 
come under the conditions of time. On the other hand, we 
deny to time all claim to absolute reality ; that is,_ we deny 
that It, wttbouf "having regard to the form of our sensuous 
intuition, absolutely inheres in things as a condition or 
property. Su&h properties as belong to objects as things in 
t^einselves^never can be presented to us through the medium 
,ofJthe senses. Herein consists, therefore, the transcendental 
ideality of time, according to which, if we abstract the sub- 
jective conditions of sensuous intuition, it is nothing, and 
cannot be reckoned as subsisting or inhering in objects as 
things in themselves, independently of its relation to our 
intuition. This ideality, like that of space, is not to be 
proved or illustrated by fallacious analogies with sensations, 
for this reason — ^that in such arguments or illustrations, we 
make the presupposition that the phenomenon, in which 
such and such predicates inhere, has objective reality, while 
in this case we can only find such an objective reality as is 
itself empirical, that is, regards the object as a mere phe- 
nomenon. In reference to this subject, see the remark in 
Section I. (page 70). 

§ 8. Elucidation 

Against this theory, which grants empirical reality to 
time, but denies to it absolute and transcendental reality, I 
have heard from intelligent men an objection so unanimously 


urged, that I conclude that it must naturally present itself 
to every reader to whom these considerations are novel. 
It runs thus: "Changes are real" (this the continual change 
in our own representations demonstrates, even though the 
existence of ail external phenomena, together with their 
changes, is denied). Now, changes are only possible in 
time, and therefore time must be something real. Bat there 
is no difficulty in answering this. I grant the whole argu- 
ment. Time, no doijbt, is something real, that is, it is the 
real form of our internal intuition. It therefore has sub- 
jective reality, in reference to our internal experience, that 
is, I have really the representation of time, and of my de- 
terminations therein. Time, therefore, is not to be regarded 
as an object, but as the mode of representation of myself as 
an object. But if I could intuite myself, or be intuited by 
another being, without this condition of sensibility, then 
those very determinations which we now represent to our- 
selves as changes, would present to us a knowledge in which 
the representation of time, and consequently of change, 
would not appear. The empirical reality of time, therefore, 
remains, as the condition of all our experience. But abso- 
lute reality, according to what has been said above, cannot 
be granted it. Time is nothing but the form of our internal 
intuition.' If we take away from it the special condition of 
our sensibility, the conception of time also vanishes; and it 
inheres not in the objects themselves, but solely in the sub- 
ject (or mind) which intuites them. 

But the reason why this objection is so unanimously 
brought against our doctrine of time, and that too by dis- 
putants who cannot start any intelligible arguments against 
the doctrine of the ideality of space, is this — they have no 
hope of demonstrating apodictically the absolute reality 
of space, because the doctrine of idealism is against them, 

' I can indeed say "my representations follow one another, or are succea- 
give"; but this means only that we are conscious of them as in a succession, 
that is, according to the form of the internal sense. Time,, therefore, is not a 
thing in itself, nor is it any objective determination pertaining to, or inherent 
in, things 


according to which the reality of external objects is not capa- 
ble of any strict proof. On the other hand, the reality of 
the object of our internal sense (that is, myself and my 
internal state) is clear immediately through consciousness. 
The-formeF^Bxternal ofejeets in space — might be a mere 
delusion, but^ the latter — ^the object of my internal percep- 
tion-^is imdeniably real. ""They do iibt, however," reflect 
that both, without question of their reality as representa- 
tions, belong only to the genus phenomenon, which has 
always two aspects, the one, the object considered as a thing 
in itself, without regard to the mode of intuiting it, and the 
nature of which remains for this very reason problematical, 
the other, the form of our intuition of the object, which must 
be sought not in the object as a thing in itself, but in the 
Gubject to which it appears — which form of intuition never- 
theless belongs really and necessarily to the phenomenal 

Time and space are, therefore, two sources of knowledge, 
from which, a priori, various synthetical cognitions can be 
drawn. — Of this we find a striking example in the cognitions 
of space and its relations, which form the foundation of pure 
mathematics. — They are the two pure forms of all intuition, 
and thereby make synthetical propositions a priori possible. 
But these sources of knowledge being merely conditions of 
our sensibility, do therefore, and as such, strictly determine 
their own range and purpose, in that they do not and cannot 
present objects as things in themselves, but are applicable 
to them solely in so far as they are considered as sensuous 
phenomena. The sphere of phenomena is the only sphere 
of their validity, and if we venture out of this, no further 
objective use can be made of them. For the rest, this formal 
reality of time and space leaves the validity of our empirical 
knowledge unshaken; for our certainty in that respect is 
equally firm, whether these forms necessarily inhere in the 
things themselves, or only in our intuitions of them. On 
the other hand, those who maintain the absolute reality of 
time and space, whether as essentially subsisting, or only 


inhering, as modifications, in things, must find themselves 
at utter variance with the principles of experience itself. 
For, if they decide for the first view, and make space and 
time into substances, this being the side taken by mathemati- 
cal natural philosophers, they must admit two self -subsisting 
nonentities, infinite and eternal, which exist (yet without 
there being anything real) for the purpose of containing in 
themselves everything that is real. If they adopt the second 
view of inherence, which is preferred by some metaphysical 
natural philosophers, and regard space and time as relations 
(contiguity in space or succession in time), abstracted from 
experience, though represented confusedly in this state of 
separation, they find themselves in that case necessitated to 
deny the validity of mathematical doctrines a priori in 
reference to real things (for example, in space) — at all events 
their apodictic certainty. For such certainty cannot be 
found in an a posteriori proposition; and the conceptions 
a priori of space and time are, according to this opinion, 
mere creations of the imagination,' having their source 
really in experience, inasmuch as, out of relations abstracted 
from experience, imagination has made up something which 
contains, indeed, general statements of these relations, yet 
of which no application can be made without the restrictions 
attached thereto by nature. The former of these parties 
gains this advantage, that they keep the sphere of phe- 
nomena free for mathematical science. On the other hand, 
these very conditions (space and time) embarrass them 
greatly, when the understanding endeavors to pass the 
limits of that sphere. The latter has, indeed, this advan- 
tage, that the representations of space and time do not come 
in their way when they wish to judge of objects, not as phe- 
nomena, but merely in their relation to the understanding. 
Devoid, however, of a true and objectively valid a priori 
intuition, they can neither furnish any basis for the possi- 

' This word is here used, and will be hereafter always used, in its primitive 
sense. That meaning of it which denotes a poetical inventive power is a 
secondary one. — Tr. 


bility of mathematical cognitions a priori, nor bring the 
propositions of experience into necessary accordance with 
those of mathematics. In our theory of the true nature of 
these two original forms of the sensibility, both difficulties 
are surmounted. 

In conclusion, that transcendental ^Esthetic cannot con- 
tain any more than these two elements^-space and time — is 
sufficiently obvious from the fact that all other conceptions 
appertaining to sensibility, even that of motion, which 
unites in itself both elements, presuppose something em- 
pirical. Motion, for example, presupposes the perception of 
something movable. But space considered in itself contains 
nothing movable, consequently motion must be something 
which is found in space only through experience — in other 
words, is an empirical datum. In like manner, transcen- 
dental Esthetic cannot number the conception of change 
among its data a priori; for time itself does not change, but 
only something which is in time. To acquire the concep- 
tion of change, therefore, the perception of some existing 
object and of the succession of its determinations, in one 
word, experience, is necessary. 

§ 9. General Eemarhs on Transcendental JEsthetic 

I. In order to prevent any misunderstanding, it will be 
requisite, in the first place, to recapitulate, as clearly as pos- 
sible, what our opinion is with respect to the fundamental 
nature of our sensuous cognition in general. We have in- 
tended, then, to say, that all our intuition is nothing but the 
representation of phenomena; that the things which we 
Intuite are not in themselves the same as our representations 
of them in intuition,, nor are their relations in themselves so 
constituted as they appear to us ; and that if we take away 
the subject, or even only the subjective constitution of our 
senses in general, then not only the nature and relations of 
objects in space and time, but even space and time them- 
selves disappear; and that these, as phenomena, cannot 
exist in themselves, but only in us. What may be the 


nature of objects considered as things in themselves and 
without reference to the receptivity of our sensibility is 
quite unknown to us. We know nothing more than our 
own mode of perceiving them, which is peculiar to us, and 
which, though not of necessity pertaining to every animated 
being, is so to the whole human race. With this alone we 
have to do. Space and time are the pure forms thereof; 
sensation the matter. The former alone can we cognize 
a priori, that is, antecedent to all actual perception ; and for 
this reason such cognition is called pure intuition. The latter 
is that in our cognition which is called cognition a posteriori, 
that is, empirical intuition. The former appertain abso- 
lutely and necessarily to our sensibility, of whatsoever kind 
our sensations may be ; the latter may be of very diversified 
character. Supposing that we should carry our empirical 
intuition even to the very highest degree of clearness, we 
should not thereby advance one step nearer to a knowledge 
of the constitution of objects as things in themselves. For 
we could only, at best, arrive at a complete cognition of our 
own mode of intuition, that is, of our sensibility, and this 
always under the conditions originally attaching to the sub- 
ject, namely the conditions of space and time; — while the 
question, "What are objects considered as things in them- 
selves ?" remains unanswerable even after the most thorough 
examination of the phenomenal world. 

To say, then, that all our sensibility is nothing but the 
confused representation of things containing exclusively 
that which belongs to them as things in themselves, and this 
under an accumulation of characteristic marks and partial 
representations which we cannot distinguish in conscious- 
ness, is a falsification of the conception of sensibility and 
phenomenization, which renders our whole doctrine thereof 
empty and useless. The difference between a confused and 
a clear representation is merely logical and has nothing 
to do with content. No doubt the conception of right as 
employed by a sound understanding, contains all that the 
most subtle investigation could unfold from it, although in 


the ordinary practical use of the word, we are not couscioua 
of the manifold representations comprised in the conception. 
But we cannot for this reason assert that the ordinary con- 
ception is a sensuous one, containing a mere phenomenon, 
iorri^ht cannot appear as a phenomenon; but the conception 
of it Ties in the understanding, and represents a property 
(the moral property) of actions, which belongs to them in 
themselves. On the other hand, the representation in intui- 
tiSBTDf-a body contains~nothing which could belong to an 
object considered as a thing in itself, but merely the phe- 
nomenon or appearance of something, and the mode in which 
w^ are affected by that appearance; and this receptivity of 
our faculty of cognition is called sensibility, and remains 
toto coelo different from the cognition of an object in itself, 
even though we should examine the content of the phenom- 
enon to the very bottom. 

It must be admitted that the Leibnitz-Wolfian philosophy 
has assigned an entirely erroneous point of view to all in- 
vestigations into the nature and origin of our cognitions, 
inasmuch as it regards the distinc^on between the sensuous 
and the intellectual as merely logical, whereas it is plainly 
transcendental, and concerns not merely the clearness or ob- 
scurity, but the content and both. For the faculty 
of sensibility not only does not present us with an indistinct 
and confused cognition of objects as things in themselves, 
but, in fact, gives us no knowledge of these at all. On the 
contrary, so soon as we abstract in thought our own sub- 
jective nature, the object represented, with the properties 
ascribed to it by sensuous intuition, entirely disappears, 
because it was only this subjective nature that determined 
the form of the object as a phenomenon. 

In phenomena, we commonly, indeed, distinguish that 
which essentially belongs to the intuition of them, and is 
valid for the sensuous faculty of every human being, from 
that which belongs to the same intuition accidentally, as 
valid not for the sensuous faculty in general, but for a par- 
ticular state or organization of this or that sense. Accord- 


ingly, we are accustomed to say that the former is a cognition 
which represents the object itself, while the latter presents 
only a particular appearance or phenomenon thereof. This 
distinction, however, is only empirical. If we stop here (as 
is usual), and do not regard the empirical intuition as itself 
a mere phenomenon (as we ought to do), in which nothing 
that can appertain to a thing in itself is to be found, our 
transcendental distinction is lost, and we believe that we 
cognize objects as things in themselves, although in the 
whole range of the sensuous world, investigate the nature of 
its objects as profoundly as we may, we have to do with 
nothing but phenomena. Thus, we call the rainbow a mere 
appearance or phenomenon in a sunny shower, and the rain, 
the reality or thing in itself ; and this is right enough, if we 
understand the latter conception in a merely physical sense, 
that is, as that which in universal experience, and under 
whatever conditions of sensuous perception, is known in 
intuition to be so and so determined, and not otherwise. But 
if we consider this empirical datum generally, and inquire, 
without reference to its accordance with all our senses, 
whether there can be discovered in it aught which represents 
an object as a thing in itself (the raindrops of course are not 
such, for they are, as phenomena, empirical objects), the 
question of the relation of the representation to the object 
is transcendental ; and not only are the raindrops mere phe- 
nomena, but even their circular form, nay, the space itself 
through which they fall, is nothing in itself, but both are 
mere modifications or fundamental dispositions of our sen- 
suous intuition, while the transcendental object remains for 
us utterly unknown. 

The second important concern of our Esthetic is, that 
it do not obtain favor merely as a plausible hypothesis, but 
possess as undoubted a character of certainty as can be de- 
manded of any theory which is to serve for an organon. In 
order fully to convince the reader of this certainty, we shall 
select a case which will serve to make its validity apparent 
and also to illustrate what has been said in § 3. 


Suppose, then, that Space and Time are in themselves 
objective, and conditions of the possibility of objects as 
things in themselves. In the first place, it is evident that 
both present us with very many apodictic and synthetic 
propositions a priori, but especially space — and for this rea- 
son we shall prefer it for investigation at present. As the 
propositions of geometry are cognized synthetically a priori 
and with apodictic certainty, I inquire — whence do you ob- 
tain propositions of this kind, and on what basis does the 
understanding rest, in order to arrive at such absolutely 
necessary and universally valid truths? 

There is no other way than through intuitions or concep- 
tions, as such; and these are given either a priori or a pos- 
teriori. The latter, namely, empirical conceptions, together 
with the empirical intuition on which they are founded, cannot 
afford any synthetical proposition, except such as is itself 
also empirical, that is, a proposition of experience. But an 
empirical proposition cannot possess the qualities of neces- 
sity and absolute universality, which, nevertheless, are the 
characteristics of all geometrical propositions. As to the 
first and only means to arrive at such cognitions, namely, 
through mere conceptions or intuitions a priori, it is quite 
clear that fro m me re^onceptipns .po, synthetical cognitions, 
but only analytical ones, can be obtained. Take, for exam- 
ple, the proposition, "Two straight lines cannnot inclose a 
space, and with these alone no figure is possible," and try 
to deduce it from the conception of a straight line, and the 
number two; or take the proposition, "It is possible to con- 
struct a/ figure with three straight lines," and endeavor, in 
like manner, to deduce it from the mere conception of a 
straight line and the number three. All your endeavors are 
in vain, and you find yourself forced to have recourse to 
intuition, as, in fact, geometry always does. You therefore 
give yourself an object in intuition. But of what kind is 
this intuition ? Is it a pure a priori, or is it an empirical 
intuition? If the latter, then neither a universally valid, 
much less an apodictic proposition can arise from it, for ex- 


perience never can give us any sucli proposition. You. must 
therefore give yourself an object a priori in intuition, and 
upon that ground your synthetical proposition. Now if 
there did not exist within you a faculty of intuition a priori; 
if this subjective condition were not in respect to its form 
also the universal condition a priori under which alone the 
object of this external intuition is itself possible ; if the ob- 
ject (that is, the triangle) were something in itself, without 
relation to you the subject; how could you affirm that that 
which lies necessarily in your subjective conditions in order 
to construct a triangle, must also necessarily belong to the 
triangle in itself ? For to your conceptions of three lines, 
you could not add anything new (that is, the figure); which, 
therefore, must necessarily be found in the object, because 
the object is given before your cognition, and not by means 
of it. If, therefore, Space (and Time also) were not a mere 
form of your intuition, which contains conditions a priori, 
under which alone things can become external objects for 
you, and without which subjective conditions the objects are 
in themselves nothing, you could not construct any synthet- 
ical proposition whatsoever regarding external objects. It 
is therefore not merely possible or probable, but indubitably 
certain, that Space and Time, as the necessary conditions of 
all our external and internal experience, are merely subjec- 
tive conditions of all our intuitions, in relation to which all 
objects are therefore mere phenomena, and not things in 
themselves, presented to us in this particular manner. And 
for this reason, in respect to the form of phenomena, much 
may be said a priori, while of the thing in itself, which may 
lie at the foundation of these phenomena, it is impossible 
to say anything. 

IL In confirmation of this theory of the ideality of the 
external as well as internal sense, consequently of all objects 
of sense, as mere phenomena, we may especially remark, that 
all in our cognition that belongs to intuition contains noth- 
ing more than mere relations. — The feelings of pain and 
pleasure, and the will, which are not cognitions, are ex- 


ceptedi-^The relations, to wit, of place in an intuition 
(extension), change of place (motion), and laws according 
to which, this change is determined (moving forces). That, 
however, which is present in this or that place, or any oper- 
ation going on, or result taking place in the things them- 
selves, with the exception of change of place, is not given to 
us by intuition. Now by means of mere relations, a thing 
cannot be known in itself; and it may therefore be fairly 
concluded, that, as through the external sense nothing but 
mere representations of relations are given us, the said ex- 
ternal sense in its representation can contain only the rela- 
tion of the object to the subject, but not the essential nature 
of the object as a thing in itself. 

The same is the case with the internal intuition, not only 
because, in the internal intuition, the representation of the 
external senses constitutes the material with which the mind 
is occupied; but because time, in which we place, and which 
itself anteoedes the consciousness of, these representations in 
experience, and which, as the formal condition of the mode 
according to which objects are placed in the mind, lies at 
the foundation of them, contains relations of the successive, 
the coexistent, and of that which always must be coexistent 
with succession, the permanent. Now that which, as repre- 
sentation, can anjecede every exercise of thought (of an 
xjbject), is intuition; and when it contains nothing but re- 
lations, it is the form of the intuition, which, as it presents 
us with no representation, except in so far as something is 
placed in the mind, can be nothing else than the mode in 
which the mind is affected by its own activity — to wit, its 
presenting to itself representations, consequently the mode 
in which the mind is affected by itself; that is, it can be 
nothing but an internal sense in respect to its form. Every- 
thing that is represented through the medium of sense is 
so far phenomenal; consequently, we must either refuse alto- 
gether to admit an internal sense, or the subject, which is 
the object of that sense, could only be represented by it as 
phenomenon, and not as it would judge of itself, if its intui- 


tion were pure spontaneous activity, that is, were intellec- 
tual. The difficulty here lies wholly in the question — How 
the subject can have an internal intuition of itself? — but 
this difficulty is common to every theory. The consciousness 
of self (apperception) is the simple representation of the 
"Ego"; and if, by means of that representation alone, all 
the manifold representations in the subject were spontane- 
ously given, then our internal intuition would be intellec- 
tual. This consciousness in man requires an internal per- 
ception of the manifold representations which are previously 
given in^the subject; and the manner in wWch these repre- 
sentations are given in the mind without spontaneity, must, 
on account of this diflEerence (the want of spontaneity), be 
called sensibility. If the faculty of self-consciousness is 
to apprehend what lies in the mind, it must affect that, and 
can in this way alone produce an intuition of self. But the 
form of this intuition, which lies in the original constitution 
of the mind, determines, in the representation of time, the 
manner in which the manifold representations are to com- 
bine themselves in the mind; since the subject intuites it- 
self, not as it would represent itself immediately and spon- 
taneously, but according to the manner in which the mind 
is internally affected, consequently, as it appears, and not 
as it is. 

III. When we say that the intuition of external objects, 
and also the self-intuition of the subject, represent both, ob- 
jects and subject, in space and time, as they affect our 
senses, that is, as they appear — this is by no means equiv- 
alent to asserting that these objects are mere illusory appear- 
ances. For when we speak of things as phenomena, the 
objects, nay, even the properties which we ascribe to them, 
are looked upon as really given; only that, in so far as this 
or that property depends upon the mode of intuition of the 
subject, in the relation of the given object to the subject 
the object as phenomenon is to be distinguished from the 
object as a thing in itself. Thus I do not say that bodies 
seem or appear to be external to me, or that my soul seems 


merely to be given in my self -consciousness, althougli I 
maintain that the properties of space and time, in conform- 
ity to which I set both, as the condition of their existence, 
abide in my mode of intuition, and not in the objects in 
themselves. It would be my own fault, if out of that which 
I should reckon as phenomenon, I made mere illusory ap- 
pearance.' But this will not happen, because of our prin- 
ciple of the ideality of all sensuous intuitions. On the 
contrary, if we ascribe objective reality to these forms of 
representation, it becomes impossible to avoid changing 
everything into mere appearance. For if we regard space 
and time as properties, which must be found in objects as 
things in themselves, as sine quibus non of the possibility 
of their existence, and reflect on the absurdities in which we 
then find ourselves involved, inasmuch as we are compelled 
to admit the existence of two infinite things, which are nev- 
ertheless not substances, nor anything really inhering in 
substances, nay, to admit that they are the necessary con- 
ditions of the existence of all things, and moreover, that 
they must continue to exist, although all existing things 
were annihilated — ^we cannot blame the good Berkeley for 
degrading bodies to mere illusory appearances. Nay, even 
our own existence, which would in this case depend upon 
the self-existent reality of such a mere nonentity as time, 
would necessarily be changed with it into mere appearance 
—an absurdity which no one has as yet been guilty of. 

' The predicates of the phenomenon can be affixed to the object itself in 
relation to out sensuous faculty; for example, the red color or the perfume to 
the rose. But (illusory) appearance never can be attributed as a predicate to an 
object, for this very reason, that it attributes to this object in itself that which 
belongs to it only in relation to our sensuous faculty, or to the subject in gen- 
eral, e.g., the two handles which were formerly ascribed to Saturn. That which 
is never to be found in the object itself, but always in the relation of the object 
to the subject, and which moreover is inseparable from our representation of the 
object, we denominate phenomenon. Thus the predicates of space and time are 
lightly attributed to objects of the senses as such, and in this there is no illu- 
sion. On the contrary, if I ascribe redness to the rose as a thing in itself, or to 
Saturn his handles, or extension to all external objects, considered as things in 
themselves, without regarding the determinate relation of these objects to the 
snbject, and without limitii^ my judgment to that relation — then, and thea 
only, arises illusion. 


TV. In natural theology, where we think of an object 
— Grod — which never can be an object of intuition to us, and 
even to himself can never be an object of sensuous intui- 
tion, we carefully avoid attributing to his intuition the 
conditions of space and time — and intuition all his cognition 
must be, and not thought, which always includes limitation. 
But with what right can we do this if we make them forms 
of objects as things in themselves, and such, moreover, as 
would continue to exist as a priori conditions of the exist- 
ence of things, even though the things themselves were an- 
nihilated? For as conditions of all existence in general, 
space and time must be conditions of the existence of the 
Supreme Being also. But if we do not thus make them 
objective forms of all things, there is no other way left than 
to make them subjective forms of our mode of intuition — ex- 
ternal and internal; which is called sensuous, because it is 
not primitive, that is, is not such as gives in itself the exist- 
ence of the object of the intuition (a mode of intuition which, 
so far as we can judge, can belong only to the Creator), but is 
dependent on the existence of the object, is possible, there- 
fore, only on condition that the representative faculty of the 
subject is affected by the object. 

It is, moreover, not necessary that we should limit the 
mode of intuition in space and time to the sensuous faculty 
of man. It may well be, that all finite thinking beings must 
necessarily in this respect agree with man (though as to this 
we cannot decide), but sensibility does not on account of 
this universality cease to be sensibility, for this very reason, 
that it is a deduced (intuitus derivaiivus), and not an original 
(intuitus originarius), consequently not an intellectual intui- 
tion; and this intuition, as such, for reasons above men- 
tioned, seems to belong solely to the Supreme Being, but 
never to a being dependent, quoad its existence, as well as 
its intuition (which its existence determines and limits rela- 
tively to given objects). This latter remark, however, must 
be taken only as an illustration, and not as any proof of the 
truth of our iBsthetical theory. 



§ 10. Conclusion of the Transcendental ^Esthetic 

We have now completely before us one part of the 
solution of the grand general problem of transcendental 
philosophy, namely, the question — How are synthetical 
propositions a priori possible? That is to say, we have 
shown that we are in possession of pure a priori intuitions, 
namely, space and time, in which we find, when in a judg- 
ment a priori we pass out beyond the given conception, 
something which is not discoverable in that conception, but 
is certainly found a priori in the intuition which corresponds 
to the conception, and can be united synthetically with it. 
But_the-judgments-whieh these pure intuitions enable us to 
make, never reach further than to objects of the senses, and 
are valid only for objects of possible experience. 




I — Of Logic in general 

OUR knowledge springs from two main sources in the 
mind, the first of which is the faculty or power of 
receiving representations (receptivity for impres- 
sions); the second is the power of cognizing by means of 
these representations (spontaneity in the production of con- 
ceptions). Through the first an object is given to us; through 
the second, it is, in relation to the representation (which is 
a mere determination of the mind), thought. Intuition and 
conceptions constitute, therefore, the elements of all our 
knowledge, so that neither conceptions without an intuition 
in some way corresponding to them, nor intuition without 
conceptions, can aflEord us a cognition. Both are either pure 
or empirical. They are empirical, when sensation (which 
presupposes the actual presence of the object) is contained 
in them; and pure, when no sensation is mixed with the 
representation. Sensations we may call the matter of sensu- 
ous cognition. Pure intuition consequently contains merely 
the form under which something is intuited, and pure con- 
ception only the form of the thought of an object. Only 
pure intuitions and pure conceptions are possible a priori; 
the empirical only a posteriori. 

We apply the term sensibility to the receptivity of the 
mind for impressions, in so far as it is in some way affected; 


and, on the other hand, we call the faculty of spontaneously 
producing representations, or the spontaneity of cognition, 
understanding. Our nature is so constituted, that intuition 
with us can never be other than sensuous, that is, it contains 
only the mode in which we are affected by objects. On the 
other hand, the faculty of thinking the object of sensuous 
intuition is the understanding. Neither of these faculties 
has a preference over the other. Without the sensuous fac- 
ulty no object would be given to us, and without the under- 
standing no object would be thought. Thoughts without 
content are void; intuitions without conceptions, blind. 
Hence it is as necessary for the mind to make its concep- 
tions sensuous (that is, to join to them the object in intui- 
tion), as to make its intuitions intelligible (that is, to bring 
them under conceptions). Neither of these faculties can ex- 
change its proper function. Understanding cannot intuite, 
and the sensuous faculty cannot think. In no other way 
than from the united operation of both can knowledge arise. 
But no one ought, on this account, to overlook the differ- 
ence of the elements contributed by each; we have rather 
great reason carefully to separate and distinguish them. 
We therefore distinguish the science of the laws of sensi- 
bility, that is, JEsthetic, from the science of the laws of the 
understanding, that is. Logic. 

Now, logic in its turn may be considered as twofold 
— namely, as logic of the general [universal],' or of the 

' Logic is nothing but the science of the laws of thought, as thought. It con- 
cerns itseli only with the form of thought, and takes no cognizance of the 
matter — that is, of the infinitude of the objects to which thought is applied. 

Now Eant is wrong, when he divides logic into logic of the general and of 
the particular use of the understanding. 

He says the logic of the particu^r use of the understanding contains the 
laws of right thinking upon any particular set of objects. This sort of logic 
he calls the organon of this or that science. It is difficult to discover what he 
means by his logic of the particular use of the understanding. From his de- 
scription, we are left in doubt whether he means by this logic induction, that 
is, the organon of science in general, or the laws which regulate the objects, a 
science of which he seeks to establish. — ^In either case, the application of the 
term logic is inadmissible. To regard logic as the organon of science, is absurd, 
as indeed Kant himself afterward shows (page 97). It knows nothing of this or 
that object. The matter employed in syllogisms is used for the sake of sxampl* 


particular use of the understanding. The first contains 
the absolutely necessary laws of thought, without which 
no use whatever of the understanding is possible, and gives 
laws therefore to the understanding, without regard to the 
difiEerence of objects on which it may be employed. The 
logic of the particular use of the understanding contains 
the laws of correct thinking upon a particular class of ob- 
jects. The former may be called elemental logic — the latter, 
the organon of this or that particular science. The' latter is 
for the most part employed in the schools, as a propaedeutic 
to the sciences, although, indeed, according to the course 
of human reason, it is the last thing we arrive at, when the 
science has been already matured, and needs only the fin- 
ishing touches toward its correction and completion; for 
our knowledge of the objects of our attempted science 
must be tolerably extensive and complete before we can 
indicate the laws by which a science of these objects can 
be established. 

General logic is again either pure or applied. In the 

only ; all forms of syllogisms might be expressed in signs. Logicians have never 
teen able clearly to see this. They have never been able clearly to define the 
extent of their science, to know, in fact, what their science really treated of. 
They have never seen that it has to do only with the formal, and never with 
the material in thought. The science has broken down its proper barriers to 
let in contributions from metaphysics, psychology, etc. It is common enough, 
for example, to say that Bacon's Novum Organum entirely superseded the 
Organon of Aristotle. But the one states the laws under which a knowledge 
of objects is possible; the other the subjective laws of thought. The spheres 
of the two are utterly distinct. 

Kant very properly states that pure logic is alone properly science. Strictly 
speaking, applied logic cannot be a division of general logic. It is more cor- 
rectly applied psychology; — psychology treating in a practical manner of the 
conditions under which thought is employed. 

It may be noted here, that what Kant calls Transcendental Logic is properly 
not logic at aU, but a division of metaphysics. For his Categories contain mat- 
ter — as regards thought at least. Take, for example, the category of Existence, 
These categories, no doubt, are the forms of the matter given to us by experi- 
ence. They are, according to Kant, not derived from experience, but purely 
a priori. But logic is concerned exclusively about the form of thought, and 
has nothing to do with this or that conception, whether a priori or a posteriori. 

See Sir William Hamilton's Edition of Beid's Works, passim. It is to Sir 
William Hamilton, one of the greatest logicians, perhaps the greatest, since 
Aristotle, and certainly one of the acutest thinkers of any time, that the Trans- 
lator ifi indebted for the above view of the subject of logic.^2r. 


former, we abstract all the empirical conditions under which 
tlie understanding is exercised; for example, the influence 
of the senses, the play of the fantasy or imagination, the 
laws of the memory, the force of habit, of inclination, etc., 
consequently also, the sources of prejudice — in a word, we 
abstract all causes from which particular cognitions arise, 
because these causes regard the understanding under certain 
circumstances of its application, and, to the knowledge of 
them experience is required. Pure general logic has to do, 
therefore, merely with pure a priori principles, and is a 
canon of understanding and reason, but only in respect 
of the formal part of their use, be the content what it may, 
empirical or transcendental. General logic is called ap- 
plied, when it is directed to the laws of the use of the 
understanding, under the subjective empirical conditions 
which psychology teaches us. It has therefore empirical 
principles, although, at the same time, it is in so far general, 
that it applies to the exercise of the understanding, without 
regard to the difference of objects. On this account, more- 
over, it is neither a canon of the understanding in general, 
nor an organon of a particular science, but merely a cathartic 
of the human understanding. 

In general logic, therefore, that part which constitutes 
pure logic must be carefully distinguished from that which 
constitutes applied (though still general) logic. The former 
alone is properly science, although short and dry, as the 
methodical exposition of an elemental doctrine of the un- 
derstanding ought to be. In this, therefore, logicians must 
always bear in mind two rules : 

1. As general logic, it makes abstraction of all content 
of the cognition of the understanding, and of the differ- 
ence of objects, and has to do with nothing but the mere 
form of thought. 

2. As pure logic, it has no empirical principles, and 
consequently draws nothing (contrary to the common per- 
suasion) from psychology, which therefore has no influence 
on the canon of the understanding. It is a demonstrated 


doctrine, and everything in it must be certain completely 
a priori. 

What I call applied logic (contrary to the common ac- 
ceptation of this term, according to which it should contain 
certain exercises for the scholar, for which pure logic gives 
the rules), is a representation of the understanding, and of 
the rules of its necessary employment in concrete, that is 
to say, under the accidental conditions of the subject, which 
may either hinder or promote this employment, and which 
are all given only empirically. Thus applied logic treats of 
attention, its impediments and consequences, of the origin 
of error, of the state of doubt, hesitation, conviction, etc., 
and to it is related pure general logic in the same way that 
pure morality, which contains only the necessary moral laws 
of a free will, is related to practical ethics, which considers 
these laws under all the impediments of feelings, inclina- 
tions, and passions to which men are more or less subjected, 
and which never can furnish us with a true and demon- 
strated science, because it, as well as applied logic, requires 
empirical and psychological principles. 

II — Of Transcendental Logic 

General logic, as we have seen, makes abstraction of all 
content of cognition, that is, of all relation of cognition to 
its object, and regards only the logical form in the relation 
of cognitions to each other, that is, the form of thought in 
general. But as we have both pure and empirical intuitions 
(as transcendental esthetic proves), in like manner a distinc- 
tion might be drawn between pure and empirical thought 
(of objects). In this case, there would exist a kind of logic, 
in which we should not make abstraction of all content of 
cognition; for that logic which should comprise merely the 
laws of pure thought (of an object), would of course exclude 
all those cognitions which were of empirical content. This 
kind of logic would also examine the origin of our cogni- 
tions of objects, so far as that origin cannot be ascribed to 
the objects themselves ; while, on the contrary, general logic 


has nothing to do with the origin of our cognitions, but con- 
templates our representations, be they given primitively 
a priori in ourselves, or be they only of empirical origin, 
solely according to the laws which the understanding ob- 
serves in employing them in the process of thought, in rela- 
tion to each other. Consequently, general logic treats of 
the form of the understanding only, which can be applied 
to representations, from whatever source they may have 

And here I shall make a remark which the reader must 
bear well in mind in the course of the following considera- 
tions; to wit, that not every cognition a priori, but only 
those through which we cognize that and how certain rep- 
resentations (intuitions or conceptions) are applied or are 
possible only a priori; that is to say, the a priori possibility 
of cognition and the a priori use of it are transcendental. 
Therefore neither is space, nor any a priori geometrical 
determination of space, a transcendental representation, but 
only the knowledge that such a representation is not of 
empirical origin, and the possibility of its relating to objects 
of experience, although itself a priori, can be called tran- 
scendental. So also the application of space to objects in 
general would be transcendental; but if it be limited 
to objects of sense, it is empirical. Thus, the distinction 
of the transcendental and empirical belongs only to the 
critique of cognitions, and does not concern the relation 
of these to their object. 

Accordingly, in the expectation that there may perhaps 
be conceptions which relate a priori to objects, not as pure 
or sensuous intuitions, but merely as acts of pure thought 
(which are therefore conceptions, but neither of empirical 
nor aesthetical origin) — in this expectation, I say, we form to 
ourselves, by anticipation, the idea of a science of pure un- 
derstanding and rational' cognition, by means of which we 
may cogitate objects entirely a priori. A science of this 

' Vernunflerkenntniss. The words reason, rational, will always be conftaed 
in this translation to the rendering of Vernimft and its derivatives. — Tr. 


kind, which should determine the origin, the extent, and 
the objective validity of such cognitions, must be called 
Transcendental Logic, because it has not, like general logic, 
to do with the laws of understanding and reason in relation 
to empirical as well as pure rational cognitions without dis- 
tinction, but concerns itself with these only in an a priori 
relation to objects. 

Ill— Of the division of General Logic into Analytic 
and Dialectic 

The old question with which people sought to push logi- 
cians into a corner, so that they must either have recourse to 
pitiful sophisms or confess their ignorance, and consequently 
the vanity of their whole art, is this — "What is truth?" 
The definition of the word truth — to wit, "the accordance of 
the cognition with its object" — is presupposed in the ques- 
tion; but we desire to be told, in the answer to it, what 
is the universal and secure criterion of the truth of evexj 

To know what questions we may reasonably propose, is 
in itself a strong evidence of sagacity and intelligence. For 
if a question be in itself absurd and unsusceptible of a 
rational answer, it is attended with the danger — not to 
mention the shame that falls upon the person who proposes 
it — of seducing the unguarded listener into making absurd 
answers, and we are presented with the ridiculous spectacle 
of one (as the ancients said) "milking the he-goat, and the 
other holding a sieve." 

If truth consists in the accordance of a cognition with its 
object, this object must be, ipso facto, distinguished from 
all others', for a cognition is false if it does not accord with 
the object to which it relates, although it contains something 
which may be affirmed of other objects. Now a universal 
criterion of truth would be that which is valid for all cogni- 
tions, without distinction of their objects. But it is evident 
that since, in the case of such a criterion, we make abstrac- 
tion of all the content of a cognition (that is, of all relation 


to its object), and truth relates precisely to this content, it 
must be utterly absurd to ask for a mark of the truth of, this 
content of cognition; and that, accordingly, a sufficient, 
and at the same time universal, test of truth cannot possibly 
be found. As we have already termed the content of a cog- 
nition its matter, we shall say:, "Of the truth of our cogni- 
tions in respect of their matter, no universal test can be 
demanded, because such a demand is self- contradictory." 

On the other hand, with regard to our cognition in re- 
spect of its mere form (excluding all content), it is equally 
manifest that logic, in so far as it exhibits the universal 
and necessary laws of the understanding, must in these very 
laws present us with criteria of truth. Whatever contra- 
dicts these rules is false, because thereby the understanding 
is made to contradict its own universal laws of thought; that 
is, to contradict itself. These criteria, however, apply solely 
to the form of truth, that is, of thought in general, and 
in so far they are perfectly accurate, yet not sufficient. Eor 
although a cognition may be perfectly accurate as to logical 
form, that is, not self-contradictory, it is notwithstanding 
quite possible that it may not stand in agreement with its 
object. Consequently, the merely logical criterion of truth, 
namely, the accordance of a cognition with the universal and 
formal laws of understanding and reason, is nothing more 
than the conditio sine qud non, or negative condition of all 
truth. Further than this logic cannot go, and the error 
which depends not on the form, but on the content of the 
cognition, it has no test to discover. 

Greneral logic, then, resolves the whole formal business 
of understanding and reason into its elements, and exhibits 
them as principles of all logical judging of our cognitions. 
This part of logic may, therefore, be called Analytic, and 
is at least the negative test of truth, because all cognitions 
must first of all be estimated and tried according to these 
laws before we proceed to investigate them in respect of their 
content, in order to discover whether they contain positive 
truth in regard to their object. Because, however, the mere 

XI — Science — 5 


form of a cognition, accurately as it may accord with logi 
cal laws, is insufficient to supply us with material (objective) 
truth, no one, by means of logic alone, can venture to pred- 
icate anything of or decide concerning objects, unless he 
has obtained, independently of logic, well-grounded infor- 
mation about them, in order afterward to examine, according 
to logical laws, into the use and connection, in a cohering 
whole, of that information, or, what is still better, merely to 
test it by them. Notwithstanding, there lies so seductive a 
charm in the possession of a specious art like this — an art 
which gives to all our cognitions the form of the understand- 
ing, although with respect to the content thereof we may be 
sadly deficient — that general logic, which is merely a canon 
of judgment, has been employed as an organon for the actual 
production, or rather for the semblance of production of 
objective assertions, and has thus been grossly misapplied. 
Now general logic, in its assumed character of organon, is 
called Dialectic. 

Different as are the significations in which the ancients 
used this term for a science or an art, we may safely infer, 
from their actual employment of it, that with them it was 
nothing else than a logic of illusion — a sophistical art for 
giving ignorance, nay, even intentional sophistries, the color- 
ing of truth, in which the thoroughness of procedure which 
logic requires was imitated, and their topic' employed to 
cloak the empty pretensions. Now it may be taken as a 
safe and useful warning, that general logic, considered as 
an organon, must always be a logic of illusion, that is, be 
dialectical, for, as it teaches us nothing whatever respecting 
the content of our cognitions, but merely the formal condi- 
tions of their accordance with the understanding, which do 
not relate to and are quite indifferent in respect of objects, 

' The Topic (Topica) of the ancients was a division of the intellectual in- 
struction then prevalent, with the design of setting forth the proper method of 
reasoning on any given proposition — according to certain distinctions of the 
genus, the species, etc., of the subject and predicate; of words, analogies, and 
the like. It of course contained also a code of laws for ayllogistical disputa- 
tion. It was not necessarily an aid to sophistry. — Tr. 


anj attempt to employ it as an instrument (organon) in or- 
der to extend and enlarge tlie range of onr knowledge must 
end in mere prating; any one being able to maintain or 
oppose, witli some appearance of truth, any single asser- 
tion wliatever. 

Such instruction is quite unbecoming the dignity of 
philosophy. For these reasons we haye chosen to denomi- 
nate this part of logic Dialectic, in the sense of a critique of 
dialectical illusion, and we wish the term to be so under- 
stood in this place. 

IV — Of the division of Transcendental Logic into Transcen- 
dental Analytic and Dialectic 

In transcendental logic we isolate the understanding (as in 
transcendental Ecsthetic the sensibility) and select from our 
cognition merely that part of thought which has its origin in 
the understanding alone. The exercise of this pure cogni- 
tion, however, depends upon this as its condition, that ob- 
jects to which it may be applied be given to us in intuition, 
for without intuition the whole of our cognition is without 
objects, and is therefore quite void. That part of transcen- 
dental logic, then, which treats of the elements of pure cog- 
nition of the understanding, and of the principles without 
which no object at all can be thought, is transcendental 
analytic, and at the same time a logic of truth. For no 
cognition can contradict it, without losing at the same time 
all content, that is, losing all reference to an object, and 
therefore all truth. But because we are very easily seduced 
into employing these pure cognitions and principles of 
the understanding by themselves, and that even beyond the 
boundaries of experience, which yet is the only source 
whence we can obtain matter (objects) on which those pure 
conceptions may be employed — understanding runs the risk 
of making, by means of empty sophisms, a material and 
objective use of the mere formal principles of the pure 
understanding, and of passing judgments on objects without 
distinction — objects which are not given to us, nay, perhaps 


cannot be given to us in any way. Now, as it ouglit prop- 
erly to be only a canon for judging of the empirical use of 
the understanding, this kind of logic is misused when we 
seek to employ it as an organon of the universal and un- 
limited exercise of the understanding, and attempt with the 
pure understanding alone to judge synthetically, affirm, and 
determine respecting objects in general. In this case the 
exercise of the pure understanding becomes dialectical. 
The second part of our transcendental logic must therefore 
be a critique of dialectical illusion, and this critique we 
shall term Transcendental Dialectic — not meaning it as an 
art of producing dogmatically such illusion (an art which 
is unfortunately too current among the practitioners of 
metaphysical juggling), but as a critique of understanding 
and reason in regard to their hyperphysical use. This 
critique will expose the groundless nature of the pretensions 
of these two faculties, and invalidate their claims to the 
discovery and enlargement of our cognitions merely by 
means of transcendental principles, and show that the proper 
employment of these faculties is to test the judgments made 
by the pure understanding, and to guard it from sophistical 



Transcendental analytic is the dissection of the whole of 
our a priori knowledge into the elements of the pure cog- 
nition of the understanding. In order to effect our purpose, 
it is necessary, 1st, That the conceptions be pure and not 
empirical; 2d, That they belong not to intuition and sensi- 
bility, but to thought and understanding ; 3d, That they be 
elementary conceptions, and, as such, quite different from 
deduced or compound conceptions; 4th, That our table of 


these elementary conceptions be complete, and fill up the 
whole sphere of the pure understanding. Now this com- 
pleteness of a science cannot be accepted with confidence oa 
the guarantee of a mere estimate of its existence in an ag- 
gregate formed only by means of repeated experiments and 
attempts. The completeness which we require is possible 
only by means of an idea of the totality of the a priori cog- 
nition of the understanding, and through the thereby de- 
termined division of the conceptions which form the said 
whole; consequently, only by means of their connection in 
a system. Pure understanding distinguishes itself not 
merely from everything empirical, but also completely from 
all sensibility. It is a unity self-subsistent, self-sufiicient, 
and not to be enlarged by any additions from without. 
Hence the sum of its cognition constitutes a system to be 
determined by and comprised under an idea; and the com- 
pleteness and articulation of this system can at the same 
time serve as a test of the correctness and genuineness of all 
the parts of cognition that belong to it. The whole of this 
part of transcendental logic consists of two books, of which 
the one contains the conceptions, and the other the principles 
of pure understanding. 



By the term "Analytic of Conceptions," I do not under- 
stand the analysis of these, or the usual process in philo- 
sophical investigations of dissecting the conceptions which 
present themselves, according to their content, and so making 
them clear: but I mean the hitherto little attempted dissec- 
tion of the faculty of understanding itself, in order to inves- 
tigate the possibility of conceptions a priori, by looking for 
them in tbe understanding alone, as their birthplace, and 
analyzing the pure use of this faonltf. For this is the 


proper duty of a transcendental philosophy; what remains 
is the logical treatment of the conceptions in philosophy in 
general. We shall therefore follow up the pure conceptions 
even to their germs and beginnings in the human under- 
standing, in which they lie, until they are developed on 
occasions presented by experience, and, freed by the same 
understanding from the empirical conditions attaching to 
them, are set forth in their unalloyed purity. 

Chapter I 



When we call into play a faculty of cognition, different 
conceptions manifest themselves according to the different 
circumstances, and make known this faculty, and assemble 
themselves into a more or less extensive collection, accord- 
ing to the time or penetration that has been applied to the 
consideration of them. Where this process, conducted as it 
is, mechanically, so to speak, will end, cannot be determined 
with certainty. Besides, the conceptions which we discover 
in this haphazard manner present themselves by no means in 
order and systematic unity, but are at last coupled together 
only according to resemblances to each other, and arranged 
in series, according to the quantity of their content, from the 
simpler to the more complex— series which are anything but 
systematic, though not altogether without a certain kind of 
method in their construction. 

Transcendental philosophy has the advantage, and more- 
over the duty, of searching for its conceptions according to 
a principle; because these conceptions spring pure and un- 
mixed out of the understanding as an absolute unity and 
therefore must be connected with each other accordinff 


to one conception or idea. A connection of this iind, how- 
ever, furnishes us with a ready prepared rule, by which its 
proper place may be assigned to every pure conception of 
the understanding, and the completeness of the system of all 
be determined a priori — both which would otherwise have 
been dependent on mere choice or chance. 


Sect. I — Of the Logical Use of the Understanding in general 

§ ^ 
The understanding was defined above only negatively, as 
a non-sensuous faculty of cognition. Now, independently 
of sensibility, we cannot possibly have any intuition; conse- 
quently, the understanding is no'faculty of intuition. But 
besides intuition there is no other mode of cognition, except 
through conceptions; consequently, the cognition of every, 
at least of every human, understanding is a cognition through 
conceptions — not intuitive, but discursive. All intuitions, 
as sensuous, depend on affections; conceptions, therefore, 
upon functions. By the word function, I understand the 
unity of the act arranging diverse representations under one 
common representation. Conceptions, then, are based on 
the spontaneity of thought, as sensuous intuitions are on the 
receptivity of impressions. Now, the understanding cannoi 
make any other use of these conceptions than to judge by 
means of them. As no representation, except an intuition, 
relates immediately to its object, a conception never relates 
immediately to an object, but only to some other representa- 
tion thereof, be that an intuition or itself a conception. A 
judgment, therefore, is the mediate cognition of an object, 
consequently the representation of a representation of it. 
In every judgment there is a conception which applies to, 
and is valid for, many other conceptions, and which among 
these comprehends also a given representation, this last 
being immediately connected with an object. For example, 


in the judgment, "All bodies are divisible," our conception 
of divisible applies to various other conceptions ; among these, 
however, it is here particularly applied to the conception of 
body, and this conception of body relates to certain phe- 
nomena which occur to us. These objects, therefore, are 
mediately represented by the conception of divisibility. All 
judgments, accordingly, are functions of unity in our repre- 
sentations, inasmuch as, instead of an immediate, a higher 
representation, which comprises this and various others, is 
used for our cognition of the object, and thereby many pos- 
sible cognitions are collected into one. But we can reduce 
all acts of the understanding to judgments, so that under- 
standing may be represented as the faculty of judging. For 
it is, according to what has been said above, a faculty of 
thought. Now thought is cognition by means of concep- 
tions. But conceptions, as predicates of possible judg- 
ments, relate to some representation of a yet undetermined 
object. Thus the conception of iod'j/ indicates something — 
for example, metal — which can be cognized by means of 
that conception. It is therefore a conception, for the reason 
alone that other representations are contained under it, by 
means of which it can relate to objects. It is therefore the 
predicate to a possible judgment; for example, "Every metal 
is a body." All the functions of the understanding there- 
fore can be discovered, when we can completely exhibit the 
functions of unity in judgments. And that this may be 
effected very easily, the following section will show. 

Sect. II. — Of the Logical Function of the Understanding 
in Judgments 


If we abstract all the content of a judgment, and consider 
only the intellectual form thereof, we find that the function 
of thought in a judgment can be brought under four heads, 
of which each contains three momenta. These may be con- 
veniently represented in the following table: 



Quantity of judgments 










As this division appears to difEer in some, though not 
essential points, from the usual technio of logicians, the fol- 
lowing observations, for the prevention of otherwise possible 
misunderstanding, will not be without their use. 

1. Logicians say, with justice, that in the use of judg- 
ments in syllogisms, singular judgments may be treated like 
universal ones. For, precisely because a singular judgment 
has no extent at all, its predicate cannot refer to a part of 
that which is contained in the conception of the subject and 
be excluded from the rest. The predicate is valid for the 
whole conception just as if it were a general conception, and 
had extent, to the whole of which the predicate applied. On 
the other hand, let us compare a singular with a general 
judgment, merely as a cognition, in regard to quantity. 
The singular judgment relates to the general one, as unity 
to infinity, and is therefore in itself essentially different. 
Thus, if we estimate a singular judgment {judicium singu- 
lare) no.t merely according to its intrinsic validity as a judg- 
ment, but also as a cognition generally, according to its 
quantity in comparison with that of other cognitions, it is 
then entirely different from a general judgment (judicium 
com,mune), and in a complete table of the momenta of thought 
deserves a separate place — though, indeed, this would not be 


necessary in a logic limited merely to the consideration of 
the use of judgments in reference to each other. 

2. In like manner, in transcendental logic, infinite must 
be distinguished from affirmative judgments, although in 
general logic they are rightly enough classed under affirma- 
tive. General logic abstracts all content of the predicate 
(though it be negative), and only considers whether the said 
predicate be affirmed or denied of the subject. But tran- 
scendental logic considers also the worth or content of this 
logical affirmation — an affirmation by means of a merely 
negative predicate, and inquires how much the sum total 
of our cognition gains by this affirmation. For example,- 
if I say of the soul, "It is not mortal"— by this negative 
judgment I should at least ward off error. Now, by the 
proposition, "The soul is not mortal," I have, in respect 
of the logical form, really affirmed, inasmuch as I thereby 
place the soul in the unlimited sphere of immortal beings. 
Now, because, of the whole sphere of possible existences, 
the mortal occupies one part, and the immortal the other, 
neither more nor less is affirmed by the proposition, than 
that the soul is one among the infinite multitude of things 
which remain over, when I take away the whole mortal part. 
But by this proceeding we accomplish only this much, that 
the infinite sphere of all possible existences is in so far 
limited that the mortal is excluded from it, and the soul 
is placed in the remaining part of the extent of this sphere. 
But this part remains, notwithstanding this exception, infi- 
nite, and more and more parts may be taken away from the 
whole sphere, without in the slightest degree thereby aug- 
menting or affirmatively determining our conception of the 
soul. These judgments, therefore, infinite in respect of 
their logical extent, are, in respect of the content of their 
cognition, merely limitative; and are consequently entitled 
to a place in our transcendental table of all the momenta of 
thought in judgments, because the function of the under- 
standing exercised by them may perhaps be of importance 
in the field of its pure a priori cognition. 


8. All relations of thought in judgments are those (a) of 
the predicate to the subject; (i) of the principle to its con- 
sequence; (c) of the divided cognition and all the members 
of the division to each other. In the first of these three 
classes, we consider only two conceptions; in the second, 
two judgments; in the third, several judgments in relation 
to each other. The hypothetical proposition, "If perfect 
justice exists, the obstinately wicked are punished," con- 
tains properly the relation to each other of two proposi- 
tions, namely, "Perfect justice exists," and "The obsti- 
nately wicked are punished." Whether these propositions 
are in themselves true, is a question not here decided. 
Nothing is cogitated by means of this judgment except 
a certain consequence. Finally, the disjunctive judgment 
contains a relation of two or more propositions to each 
other — a relation not of consequence, but of logical opposi- 
tion, in so far as the sphere of the one proposition excludes 
that of the other. But it contains at the same time a rela- 
tion of community, in so far as all the propositions taken to- 
gether fill up the sphere of the cognition. The disjunctive 
judgment contains, therefore, the relation of the parts of the 
whole sphere of a cognition, since the sphere of each part is 
a complemental part of the sphere of the other, each con- 
tributing to form the sum total of the divided cognition. 
Take, for example, the proposition, "The world exists 
either through blind chance, or through internal necessity, 
or through an external cause." Bach of these propositions 
embraces a part of the sphere of our possible cognition as 
to the existence of a world; all of them taken together, the 
whole sphere. To take the cognition out of one of these 
spheres, is equivalent to placing it in one of the others ; and, 
on the other hand, to place it in one sphere is equivalent to 
taking it out of the rest. There is, therefore, in a disjunc- 
tive judgment a certain community of cognitions, which 
consists in this, that they mutually exclude each other, yet 
thereby determine, as a whole, the true cognition, inasmuch 
as, taken together, they make up the complete content of a 


particular given cognition. And this is all that I find neces- 
sary, for the sake of what follows, to remark in this place, 
4. The modality of judgments is a quite peculiar func- 
tion, with this distinguishing characteristic, that it con- 
tributes nothing to the content of a judgment (for besides 
quantity, quality, and relation, there is nothing more that 
constitutes the content of a judgment), but concerns itself 
only with the value of the copula in relation to thought in 
general. Problematical judgments are those in which the 
affirmation or negation is accepted as merely possible {ad lib- 
iiiim). In the assertorical, we regard the proposition as real 
(true); in the apodictical, we look on it as necessary.' Thus 
the two judgments {aniecedens et consequens), the relation of 
which constitutes a hypothetical judgment, likewise those 
(the members of the division) in whose reciprocity the dis- 
junctive consists, are only problematical. In the example 
above given, the proposition, "There exists perfect justice," 
is not stated assertorically, but as an ad libitum judgment, 
which some one may choose to adopt, and the consequence 
alone is assertorical. Hence such judgments may be obvi- 
ously false, and yet, taken problematically, be conditions 
of our cognition of the truth. Thus the proposition, "The 
world exists only by blind chance," is in the disjunctive 
judgment of problematical import only: that is to say, one 
may accept it for the moment, and it helps us (like the indi- 
cation of the wrong road among all the roads that one can 
take) to find out the true proposition. The problematical 
proposition is, therefore, that which expresses only logical 
possibility (which is not objective); that is, it expresses a 
free choice to admit the validity of such a proposition — 
a merely arbitrary reception of it into the understanding. 
The assertorical speaks of logical reality or truth; as, for 
example, in a hypothetical syllogism, the aniecedens presents 
itself in a problematical form in the major, in an assertorical 

' Just as if thought were in the first instance a function of the wnderstomA- 
ing; in iJie second, of Judgment; in the third, of reason. A remarli which will 
be explained in the sequel. 


form in the minor, and it shows that the proposition is in 
harmony with the laws of the understanding. The apo- 
dictical proposition cogitates the assertorical as determined 
by these very laws of the understanding, consequently as 
affirming a priori, and in this manner it expresses logical 
necessity. Now because all is here gradually incorporated 
with the understanding — inasmuch as in the first place we 
jtrdge problematically; then accept assertorically our judg- 
ment as true; lastly, affirm it as inseparably united with the 
understanding, that is, as necessary and apodictical — we may 
safely reckon these three functions of modality as so many 
momenta of thought. 

Sect. Ill — Of the pure Conceptions of the Understanding, 

or Categories 

General logic, as has been repeatedly said, makes ab- 
straction of all content of cognition, and expects to receive 
representations from some other quarter, in order, by means 
of analysis, to convert them into conceptions. On the con- 
trary, transcendental logic has lying before it the manifold 
content of a priori sensibility, which transcendental sesthetio 
presents to it in order to give matter to the pure conceptions 
of the understanding, without which transcendental logic 
would have no content, and be therefore utterly void. Now 
space and time contain an infinite diversity of determina- 
tions' of pure a priori intuition, but are nevertheless the 
condition of the mind's receptivity, under which alone it 
can obtain representations of objects, and which, conse- 
quently, must always aflEect the conception of these objects. 
But the spontaneity of thought requires that this diversity 
be examined after a certain manner, received into the mind, 
and connected, in order afterward to form a cognition out 
of it This process I call synthesis. 

' Kant employs the words Mannigfaltiges, MimnigfalUgTceit, indifEerently, for 
the inflnitude of the possible determma^tioa of matter, «f an. intuition (such aa 
that of space), etc. — Tr. 


By the word synthesis, in its most general signification, 
I understand the process of joining difEerent representations 
to each other, and of comprehending their diversity in one 
cognition. This synthesis is pure when the diversity is not 
given empirically but a priori (as that in space and time). 
Our representations must be given previously to any analy- 
sis of them ; and no conceptions can arise, quoad their con- 
tent, analytically. But the synthesis of a diversity ( 
given a priori or empirically) is the first requisite for the 
production of a cognition, which in its beginning, indeed, 
may be crude and confused, and therefore in need of analy- 
sis — still, synthesis is that by which alone the elements of 
our cognitions are collected and united into a certain con- 
tent, consequently it is the first thing on which we must fix 
our attention, if we wish to investigate the origin of our 

Synthesis, generally speaking, is, as we shall afterward 
see, the mere operation of the imagination — a blind but in- 
dispensable function of the soul, without which we should 
have no cognition whatever, but of the working of which we 
are seldom even conscious. But to reduce this synthesis to 
conceptions, is a function of the understanding, by means of 
which we attain to cognition, in the proper meaning of the 

Pure synthesis, represented generally, gives us the pure 
conception of the understanding. But by this pure synthe- 
sis, I mean that which rests upon a basis of ci priori syntheti- 
cal unity. Thus, our numeration (and this is more observa- 
ble in large numbers) is a synthesis according to conceptions, 
because it takes place according to a common basis of 
unity (for example, the decade). By means of this concep- 
tion, therefore, the unity in the synthesis of the manifold 
becomes necessary. 

By means of analysis different representations are brought 
under one conception — an operation of which general logic 
treats. On the other hand, the duty of transcendental logic 
is to reduce to conceptions, not representations, but the pure 


synthesis of representations. The first thing which must be 
given to us in order to the a priori cognition of all objects, 
is the diversity of the pure intuition; the synthesis of this 
diversity by means of the imagination is the second; but 
this gives, as yet, no cognition. The conceptions which give 
unity to this pure synthesis, and which consist solely in the 
representation of this necessary synthetical unity, furnish 
the third requisite for the cognition of an object, and these 
conceptions are given by the understanding. 

The same function which gives unity to the different rep- 
resentations in a judgment, gives also unity to the mere syn- 
thesis of different representations in an intuition; and this 
unity we call the pure conception of the understanding. 
Thus, the same understanding, and by the same operations, 
whereby in conceptions, by means of analytical unity, it pro- 
duced the logical form of a judgment, introduces, by means 
of the synthetical unity of the manifold in intuition, a tran- 
scendental content into its representations, on which account 
they are called pure conceptions of the understanding, and 
they apply a priori to objects, a result not within the power 
of general logic. * 

In this manner, there arise exactly so many pure con- 
ceptions of the understanding, applying a priori to objects 
of intuition in general, as there are logical functions in all 
possible judgments. For there is no other function or fac- 
ulty existing in the understanding besides those enumerated 
in that table. These conceptions we shall, with Aristotle, 
call categories, our purpose being originally identical with 
his, notwithstanding the great difference in the execution. 


Of Quantity Of Quality 

Unity. Eeality. 

Plurality. Negation. 

Totality. Limitation. 

' Only because tHa 5a beyond the sphere of logic proper. Kant'a remark is 
unnecessary. — Tr. 


Of Relation 
Of Inherence and Subsistence (substantia et accidens). 
Of Causality and Dependence (cause and effect). 
Of Community (reciprocity between the agent and patient). 


Of Modality 

Possibility — Impossibility 

Existence — Non-existence 

Necessity — Contingence 

This, then, is a catalogue of all the originally pure con- 
ceptions of the synthesis which the understanding contains 
a priori, and these conceptions alone entitle it to be called a 
pure understanding; inasmuch as only by them it can render 
the manifold of intuition conceivable, in other words, think 
an object of intuition. This division is made systematically 
from a common principle, namely, the faculty of judgment 
(which is just the same as the power of thought), and has 
not arisen rhapsodically from a search at haphazard after 
pure conceptions, respecting the full number of which we 
never could be certain, inasmuch as we employ induction 
alone in our search, without considering that in this way we 
can never understand wherefore precisely these conceptions, 
and none others, abide in the pure understanding. It was a 
design worthy of an acute thinker like Aristotle, to search for 
these fundamental conceptions.' Destitute, however, of any 

' "It is a serious error to imagine that, in his Categories, Aristotle proposed, 
like Kant, 'an analysis of the elements of human reasou. ' The ends proposed 
by the two philosophers were different, even opposed. In their several Catego- 
ries, Aristotle attempted a synthesis of things in their multiplicity — a classifica- 
tion of objects real, but in relation to thought ; Kant, an analysis of mind in its 
unity — a dissection of thought, pure, but in relation to its objects. The predica- 
ments of Aristotle are thus objective, of things as understood; those of Kant 

subjective, of the mind as understanding. The former are results a posteriori 

the creations of abstraction and generalization ; the latter, anticipations a priori 
— the conditions of those acts themselves. It is true, that as the one scheme 
exhibits the unity of thought diverging into plurality, in appliance to its objects, 
and as the other exhibits the multiplicity of these objects converging toward 
unity by the collective determination of thought; vfhile, at the same time, lan- 
guage usually confounds the subjective and objective under a common term; 

it is certainly true, that some elements in the one table coincide in name with 


guiding principle, he picked them up just as they occurred 
to him, and at first hunted out ten, Which he called categories 
{predicaments). Afterward he believed that he had discov- 
ered five others, which were added under the name of post 
predicaments. But his catalogue still remained defective. 
Besides, there are to be found among them some of the 
modes of pure sensibility {quando, ubi, situs, also prius, 
simul), and likewise an empirical conception (motus) — which 
can by no means belong to this genealogical register of the 
pure understanding. Moreover, there are deduced concep- 
tions (actio, passio) enumerated among the original con- 
ceptions, and of the latter, some are entirely wanting. 

With regard to these, it is to be remarked, that the cate- 
gories, as the true primitive conceptions of the pure under- 
standing, have also their pure deduced conceptions, which, 
in a complete system of transcendental philosophy, must by 
no means be passed over; though in a merely critical essay 
we must be contented with the simple mention of the fact. 

Let it be allowed me to call these pure, but deduced con- 
ceptions of the understanding, the predicahles' of the pure 
xinderstanding, in contradistinction to predicaments. If we 
are in possession of the original and primitive, the deduced 
and subsidiary conceptions can easily be added, and the 
genealogical tree of the understanding completely deline- 
ated. As my present aim is not to set forth a complete sys- 
tem, but merely the principles of one, I reserve this task for 
another time. It may be easily executed by any one who 
will refer to the ontological manuals, and subordinate to the 

some elements in the other. This coincidence is, however, only equivocal. In 
xeality, the whole Kantian categories must be excluded from the Aristotelic list, 
as entia rationis, as notiones secundce — in short, as determinations of thought, 
and not genera of real things : while the several elements would be specially 
excluded, as partial, privative, transcendent," etc. — Hamilton's (Sir W.) Essays 
and Discussions. 

' The predicables of Kant are quite different from those of Aristotle and 
ancient and modern logicians. The five predicables are of a logical, and not, 
like those of Kant, of a metaphysico-ontological import. They were enounced 
as a complete enumeration of all the possible modes of predication. Kant's 
predicables, on the contrary, do not possess this merely formal and logical char- 
acter, but have a real or metaphysical content. — Tr. 


category of causality, for example, the predicables of force, 
action, passion; to that of community, those of presence and 
resistance; to the categories of modality, those of origina- 
tion, extinction, change; and so with the rest. The catego- 
ries combined with the modes of pure sensibility, or with 
one another, afiord a great number of deduced a priori 
conceptions; a complete enumeration of which would be 
a useful and not unpleasant, but in this place a perfectly 
dispensable occupation. 

I purposely omit the definitions of the categories in this 
treatise. I shall analyze these conceptions only so far as is 
necessary for the doctrine of method, which is to form a part 
of this critique. In a system of pure reason, definitions of 
them would be with justice demanded of me, but to give 
them here would only hide from our view the main aim of 
our investigation, at the same time raising doubts and objec- 
tions, the consideration of which, without injustice to our 
main purpose, may be very well postponed till another op- 
portunity. Meanwhile, it ought to be sufiiciently clear, from 
the little we have already said on this subject, that the for- 
mation of a complete vocabulary of pure conceptions, accom- 
panied by all the requisite explanations, is not only a possi- 
ble, but an easy undertaking. The compartments already 
exist ; it is only necessary to fill them up ; and a systematic 
topic like the present, indicates with perfect precision the 
proper place to which each conception belongs, while it 
readily points out any that have not yet been filled up. 

Our table of the categories suggests considerations of 
some importance, which may perhaps have significant results 
in regard to the scientific form of all rational cognitions. 
For, that this table is useful in the theoretical part of phi- 
losophy, nay, indispensable for the sketching of the com 
plete plan of a science, so far as that science rests upon 
conceptions a priori, and for dividing it mathematically, ac- 
cording to fixed principles, is most manifest from the fact 


that it contains all the elementary conceptions of the under- 
standing, nay, even the form of a system of these in the 
understanding itself, and consequently indicates all the mo- 
menta, and also the internal arrangement of a projected 
speculative science, as I have elsewhere shown.' Here 
follow some of these observations. 

I. This table, which contains four classes of conceptions 
of the understanding, may, in the first instance, be divided 
into two classes, the first of which relates to objects of intui- 
tion — pure as well as empirical; the second, to the existence 
of these objects, either in relation to one another, or to the 

The former of these classes of categories I would entitle 
the mathematical, and the latter the dynamical categories. 
The former, as we see, has no correlates; these are only to 
be found in the second class. This difference must have 
a ground in the nature of the human understanding. 

II. The number of the categories in each class is always 
the same, namely, three ; — a fact which also demands some 
consideration, because in all other cases division a priori 
through conceptions is necessarily dichotomy. It is to be 
added, that the third category in each triad always arises 
from the combination of the second with the first. 

Thus Totality is nothing else but Plurality contemplated 
as Unity; Limitation is merely Eeality conjoined with Ne- 
gation; Community is the Causality of a Substance, recip- 
rocally determining, and determined by, other substances; 
and finally. Necessity is nothing but Existence, which is 
given through the Possibility itself.' Let it not be sup- 
posed, however, that the third category is merely a deduced 
and not a primitive conception of the pure understanding. 
For the conjunction of the first and second, in order to pro- 
duce the third conception, requires a particular function of 
the understanding, which is by no means identical with 

' In the "Metaphysical Principles of Natural Science." 
' Kant's meaning is: A necessary existence is an existence whose existence 
IS given in the very possibility of its existence. — Tr. 


those which are exercised in the first and second. Thus, 
the conception of a number (which belongs to the category 
of Totality), is not always possible, where the conceptions 
of multitude and unity exist (for example, in the represen- 
tation of the infinite). Or, if I conjoin the conception of a 
cause with that of a substance, it does not follow that the 
conception of influence, that is, how one substance can be 
the cause of something in another substance, will be under- 
stood from that. Thus it is evident, that a particular act of 
the understanding is here necessary; and so in the other 

III. With respect to one category, namely, that of com- 
munity, which is found in the third class, it is not so easy as 
with the others to detect its accordance with the form of the 
disjunctive judgment which corresponds to it in the table 
of the logical functions. 

In order to assure ourselves of this accordance, we must 
observe: that in every disjunctive judgment, the sphere of 
the judgment (that is, the complex of all that is contained 
in it) is represented as a whole divided into parts; and, since 
one part cannot be contained in the other, they are cogitated 
as co-ordinated with, not subordinated to each other, so that 
they do not determine each other unilaterally, as in a linear 
series, but reciprocally, as in an aggregate — (if one member 
of the division is posited, all the rest are excluded; and 

Now a like connection is cogitated in a whole of things; 
for one thing is not subordinated, as effect, to another as 
cause of its existence, but, on the contrary, is co-ordinated 
contemporaneously and reciprocally, as a cause in relation to 
the determination of the others (for example, in a body — the 
parts of which mutually attract and repel each other). And 
this is an entirely different kind of connection from that 
which we find in the mere relation of the cause to the effect 
(the principle to the consequence), for in such a connection 
the consequence does not in its turn determine the principle, 
and therefore does not constitute, with the latter, a whole 


just as the Creator does not with the world make up a whole. 
The process of understanding by which it represents to itself 
the sphere of a divided conception, is employed also when 
we think of a thing as divisible; and, in the same manner 
as the members of the division in the former exclude one 
another, and yet are connected in one sphere, so the under- 
standing represents to itself the parts of the latter, as having 
— each of them — an existence (as substances), independently 
of the others, and yet as united in one whole. 


In the transcendental philosophy of the ancients, there 
exists one more leading division, which contains pure con- 
ceptions of the understanding, and which, although not 
numbered among the categories, ought, according to them, 
as conceptions a priori, to be valid of objects. But in this 
case they would augment the number of the categories; 
which cannot be. These are set forth in the proposition, so 
renowned among the schoolmen — ' ' Quodlibet ens est UNUM, 
VERtJM, BONUM." Now, though the inferences from this 
principle were mere tautological propositions, and though it 
is allowed only by courtesy to retain a place in modern met- 
aphysics, yet a thought which maintained itself for such a 
length of time, however empty it seems to be, deserves an 
investigation of its origin, and justifies the conjecture that it 
must be grounded in some law of the understanding, which, 
as is often the case, has only been erroneously interpreted. 
These pretended transcendental predicates are, in fact, noth- 
ing but logical requisites and criteria of all cognition of ob- 
jects, and they employ, as the basis for this cognition, the 
categories of Quantity, namely, Unity, Plurality, and Total- 
ity. But these, which must be taken as material conditions, 
that is, as belonging to the possibility of things themselves, 
they employed merely in a formal signification, as belonging 
to the logical requisites of all cognition, and yet most un- 
guardedly changed these criteria of thought into properties 
of objects as things in themselves. Now, in every cogni- 


tion of an object, tliere is unity of conception, which may be 
called qualitative unity, so far as by this term we understand 
only the unity in our connection of the manifold ; for exam- 
ple, unity of the theme in a play, an oration, or a story. 
Secondly, there is truth in respect of the deductions from 
it. The more true deductions we have from a given con- 
ception, the more criteria of its objective reality. This we 
might call the qualitative plurality of characteristic marks, 
which belong to a conception as to a common foundation, 
but are not cogitated as a quantity in it. Thirdly; there is 
perfection — which consists in this, that the plurality falls 
back upon the unity of the conception, and accords com- 
pletely with that conception, and with no other. This we 
may denominate qualitative completeness. Hence it is evi- 
dent that these logical criteria of the possibility of cognition 
are merely the three categories of Quantity modified and 
transformed to suit an unauthorized manner of applying 
them. That is to say, the three categories, in which the 
unity in the production of the quantum must be homogene- 
ous throughout, are transformed solely with a view to the 
connection of heterogeneous parts of cognition in one act 
of consciousness, by means of the quality of the cognition, 
which is the principle of that connection. Thus the crite- 
rion of the possibility of a conception (not of its object), is 
the definition of it, in which the unity of the conception, the 
truth of all that may be immediately deduced from it, and 
finally, the completeness of what has been thus deduced, 
constitute the requisites for the reproduction of the whole 
conception. Thus, also, the criterion or test of a hypothe- 
sis is the intelligibility of the received principle of explana- 
tion, or its unity (without help from any subsidiary hypoth- 
esis) — the truth of our deductions from it (consistency with 
each other and with experience) — and lastly, the complete- 
ness of the principle of the explanation of these deductions, 
which refer to neither more nor less than what was admitted 
in the hypothesis, restoring analytically and a posteriori, 
what was cogitated synthetically and a priori. By the con- 


ceptions, therefore, of Unity, Truth, and Perfection, we 
have made no addition to the transcendental table of the 
categories, which is complete without them. We have, on 
the contrary, merely employed the three categories of quan- 
tity, setting aside their application to objects of experience, 
as general logical laws of the consistency of cognition with 

Chapter II 


Sect. I — 0/ the Principles of a Transcendental Deduction 

in general 

Teachers of jurisprudence, when speaking of rights and 
claims, distinguish in a cause the question of right {quid 
juris) from the question of fact {quid facti), and while they 
demand proof of both, they give to the proof of the former, 
which goes to establish right or claim in law, the name of 
Deduction. Now we make use of a great number of em- 
pirical conceptions, without opposition from any one; and 
consider ourselves, even without any attempt at deduction, 
justified in attaching to them a sense, and a supposititious 
significance, because we have always experience at hand to 
demonstrate their objective reality. There exist also, how- 

' Kant's meaning in the foregoing chapter is this : These three conceptions 
of unity, (ruth, and goodness, applied as predicates to things, are the tliree cate- 
gories of quantity under a different form. These three categories have an im- 
mediate relation to things, as phenomena; without them we could form no con- 
ceptions of external objects. But in the above-menlioned proposition, they are 
changed into logical conditions of thought, and then unwittingly transformed 
into properties of things in themselves. These conceptions are properly logical 
or formal, and not metaphysical or material. The three categories are quanti- 
tative; these concepfions, qualitative. They are logical conditions employed as 
metaphysical conceptions— one of the very commonest errors in the sphere 
of mental science. — ZV. 


ever, usurped conceptions, such as fortune, fate, which circu- 
late with almost universal indulgence, and jet are occasion- 
ally challenged by the question, quid juris ? In such cases, 
we have great difficulty in discovering any deduction for 
these terms, inasmuch as we cannot produce any manifest 
ground of right, either from experience or from reason, on 
which the claim to employ them can be founded. 

Among the many conceptions, which make up the very 
variegated web of human cognition, some are destined for 
pure use a priori, independent of all experience ; and their 
title to be so employed always requires a deduction, inas- 
much as, to justify such use of them, proofs from experience 
are not sufficient; but it is necessary to know how these 
conceptions can apply to objects without being derived from 
experience. I term, therefore, an explanation of the manner 
in which conceptions can apply a priori to objects, the tran- 
scendental deduction of conceptions, and I distinguish it from 
the empirical deduction, which indicates the mode in which 
a conception is obtained through experience and reflection 
thereon; consequently, does not concern itself with the right, 
but only with the fact of our obtaining conceptions in such 
and such a manner. We have already seen that we are in 
possession of two perfectly different kinds of conceptions, 
which nevertheless agree with each other in this, that they 
both apply to objects completely a priori. These are the 
conceptions of space and time as forms of sensibility, and 
the categories as pure conceptions of the understanding. 
To attempt an empirical deduction of either of these classes 
would be labor in vain, because the distinguishing charac- 
teristic of their nature consists in this, that they apply to 
their objects, without having borrowed anything from ex- 
perience toward the representation of them. Consequently 
if a deduction of these conceptions is necessary, it must 
always be transcendental. 

Meanwhile, with respect to these conceptions, as with 
respect to all our cognition, we certainly may discover in 
experience, if not the principle of their possibility, yet the 


occasioning causes' of their production. It will be found 
that the impressions of sense give the first occasion for 
bringing into action the whole faculty of cognition, and 
for the production of experience, which contains two very 
dissimilar elements, namely, a matter for cognition, given 
by the senses, and a certain form for the arrangement of 
this matter, arising out of the inner fountain of pure intui- 
tion and thought; and these, on occasion given by sensuous 
impressions, are called into exercise and produce concep- 
tions. Such an investigation into the first efforts of our 
faculty of cognition to mount from particular perceptions 
to general conceptions, is undoubtedly of great utility; and 
we have to thank the celebrated Locke, for having first 
opened the way for this inquiry. But a deduction of the 
pure a priori conceptions of course never can be made in 
this way, seeing that, in regard to their future employment, 
which must be entirely independent of experience, they must 
have a far different certificate of birth to show from that of 
a descent from experience. This attempted physiological 
derivation, which cannot properly be called deduction, be- 
cause it relates merely to a qucestio facti, I shall entitle 
an explanation of the possession of a pure cognition. It is 
therefore manifest that there can only be a transcendental 
deduction of these conceptions, and by no means an empir- 
ical one; also, that all attempts at an empirical deduction, 
in regard to pure a priori conceptions, are vain, and can 
only be made by one who does not understand the alto- 
gether peculiar nature of these cognitions. 

But although it is admitted that the only possible deduc- 
tion of pure a priori cognition is a transcendental deduction, 
it is not, for that reason, perfectly manifest that such a 
deduction is absolutely necessary. We have already traced 
to their sources the conceptions of space and time, by means 
of a transcendental deduction, and we have explained and 
determined their objective validity a priori. Geometry, 
nevertheless, advances steadily and securely in the province 

' Gelegenheitsursachen. 
XI— Science — 6 


of pure a priori cognitions, without needing to ask from 
Philosophy any certificate as to the pure and legitimate 
origin of its fundamental conception of space. But the use 
of the conception in this science extends only to the external 
world of sense, the pure form of the intuition of which is 
space; and in this world, therefore, all geometrical cogni- 
tion, because it is founded upon a priori intuition, possesses 
immediate evidence, and the objects of this cognition are 
given a priori (as regards their term) in intuition by and 
through the cognition itself.' With the pure conceptions of 
Understanding, on the contrary, commences the absolute 
necessity of seeking a transcendental deduction, not only of 
these conceptions themselves, but likewise of space, becaase, 
inasmuch as they make affirmations" concerning objects not 
by means of the predicates of intuition and sensibility, but 
of pure thought a priori, they apply to objects without any 
of the conditions of sensibility. Besides, not being founded 
on experience, they are not presented with any object in 
a priori intuition upon which, antecedently to experience, 

' Kant's meaning is: The objects of cognition in Geometry — angles, lines, 
figures, and the like — are not different from the act of cognition which producaa 
them, except in thought. The object does not exist but while we think it — 
does not exist apart from our thinking it. The act of thinking and the object 
of thinking, are but one thing regarded from two different points of view. — TV. 

' I have been compelled to adopt a conjectural reading here. All the edi- 
tions of the Kritik der reinen Ternunft, both those published during Kant's life- 
time, and those published by various editors after his death, have sie . . von 
Gegenstdnden .... redet. But it is quite plain that the sie is the 'pronoun for 
die reine Verstandesbegriffe; and we ought, therefore, to read reden. In the 
same sentence, all the editions (except Hartenstein's) insert die after the first 
und, which makes nonsense. In page 75 also, sentence beginning "For that 
objects," I have altered "syntJietischen Binsicht des Denkens" into "syifKhetischen 
Einheit." And in page 11, sentence beginning, "But it is evident," we find "die 
erste Bedingung liegen." Some such word as muss Is plainly to be understood. 

Indeed, I have not found a single edition of the Critique trustworthy. Kant 
must not have been very careful in his correction of the press. Those pubUshed 
by editors after Kant's death seem in most cases to follow Kant's own editions 
closely. That by Rosenkranz is perhaps the best; and he has corrected a 
number of Kant's errors. But although I have adopted several uncommon and 
also conjectural readings, I have not done so hastily or lightly. It is only after 
diligent comparison of all the editions I could gain access to, that I have altered 
the common reading ; while a conjectural reading has been adopted only when 
It was quite clear that the reading of every edition was a misprint. 

Other errors, occurring previously to those mentioned above, have been, and 
others after them will be, corrected in silence. — 2V. 


they miglit base tlieir syntliesis. Hence results, not only 
doubt as to the objective validity and proper limits of tlieir 
use, but that even our conception of space is rendered 
equivocal ; inasmuch as we are very ready, with the aid of 
the categories, to carry the use of this conception beyond 
the conditions of sensuous intuition; — and for this reason, 
we have already found a transcendental deduction of it 
needful. The reader, then, must be quite convinced of the 
absolute necessity of a transcendental deduction, before 
taking a single step in the field of pure reason; because 
otherwise he goes to work blindly, and, after he has wan- 
dered about in all directions, returns to the state of utter 
ignorance from which he started. He ought, moreover, 
clearly to recognize, beforehand, the unavoidable difficulties 
in his undertaking, so that he may not afterward complain 
of the obscurity in which the subject itself is deeply in- 
volved, or become too soon impatient of the obstacles in his 
path ; — because we have a choice of only two things — either 
at once to give up all pretensions to knowledge beyond the 
limits of possible experience, or to bring this critical inves- 
tigation to completion. 

We have been able, with very little trouble, to make 
it comprehensible how the conceptions of space and time, 
although a priori cognitions, must necessarily apply to 
external objects, and render a synthetical cognition of these 
possible, independently of all experience. For inasmuch as 
only by means of such pure form of sensibility an object can 
appear to us, that is, be an object of empirical intuition, 
space and time are pure intuitions, which contain a priori 
the condition of the possibility of objects as phenomena, 
and an a priori synthesis in these intuitions possesses objec- '■• 
tive validity. 

On the other hand, the categories of the understanding 
do not represent the conditions under which objects are 
given to us in intuition; objects can consequently appear to 
us without necessarily connecting themselves with these, 
and consequently without any necessity binding on the 


understanding to contain a priori the conditions of these 
objects. Thus we find ourselves involved in a difficulty 
which did not present itself in the sphere of sensibility, that 
is to say, we cannot discover how the subjective conditions of 
thought can have objective validity, in other words, can become 
conditions of the possibility of all cognition of objects;— for 
phenomena may certainly be given to us in intuition without 
any help from the functions of the understanding. Let us 
take, for example, the conception of cause, which indicates a 
peculiar kind of synthesis, namely, that with something, 
A, something entirely different, B, is connected according 
to a law. It is not a priori manifest why phenomena should 
contain anything of this kind (we are of course debarred 
from appealing for proof to experience, for the objective 
validity of this conception must be demonstrated a priori), 
and it hence remains doubtful ci priori, whether such a con- 
ception be not quite void, and without any corresponding 
object among phenomena. For that objects of sensuous 
intuition must correspond to the formal conditions of sensi- 
bility existing a priori in the mind, is quite evident, from 
the fact, that without these they could not be objects for us; 
but that they must also correspond to the conditions which 
understanding requires for the synthetical unity of thought, 
is an assertion, the grounds for which are not so easily to be 
discovered. For phenomena might be so constituted, as not 
to correspond to the conditions of the unity of thought; and 
all things might lie in such confusion, that, for example, noth- 
ing could be met with in the sphere of phenomena to suggest 
a law of synthesis, and so correspond to the conception of 
cause and effect; so that this conception would be quite 
void, null, and without significance. Phenomena would 
nevertheless continue to present objects to our intuition; 
for mere intuition does not in any respect stand iu need of 
the functions of thought. 

If we thought to free ourselves from the labor of these 
investigations by saying, "Experience is constantly offering 
us examples of the relation of cause and effect in phenomena, 


and presents us with abundant opportunity of abstracting tlie 
conception of cause, and so at tlie same time of corroborating 
the objective validity of this conception"; — we should in 
this case be overlooking the fact, that the conception of 
cause cannot arise in this way at all; that, on the contrary, 
it must either have an a priori basis in the understanding, 
or be rejected as a mere chimera. For this conception de- 
mands that something, A, should be of such a nature that 
something else, B, should follow from it necessarily, and 
according to an absolutely universal law. We may certainly 
collect from phenomena a law, according to which this or 
that usually happens, but the element of necessity is not to 
be found in it. Hence it is evident that to the synthesis 
of cause and effect belongs a dignity, which is utterly want- 
ing in any empirical synthesis; for it is no mere mechanical 
synthesis, by means of addition, but a dynamical one, that is 
to say, the effect is not to be cogitated as merely annexed to 
the cause, but as posited by and through the cause, and 
resulting from it. The strict universality of this law never 
can be a characteristic of empirical laws, which obtain 
through induction only a comparative universality, that is, 
an extended range of practical application. But the pure 
conceptions of the understanding would entirely lose all 
their peculiar character, if we treated them merely as the 
productions of experience. 

§ 10. Transition to the Transcendental Deduction of the 

There are only two possible ways in which synthetical 
representation and its objects can coincide with and relate 
necessarily to each other, and, as it were, meet together. 
Either the object alone makes the representation possible, or 
the representation alone makes tbe object possible. In the 
former case, the relation between them is only empirical, 
and an a priori representation is impossible. And this is the 
case with phenomena, as regards that in them which is refer- 
able to mere sensation. In the latter ease — although repre- 


sentation alone (for of its causality, by means of the will, 
we do not here speak) does not produce the object as to its 
existence, it must nevertheless be a priori determinative in 
regard to the object, if it is only by means of the representa- 
tion that we can cognize anything as an object. Now there 
are only two conditions of the possibility of a cognition of 
objects; first, Intuition, by means of which the object, 
though only as phenomenon, is given; secondly. Conception, 
by means of which the object which corresponds to this 
intuition is thought. But it is evident from what has been 
said on aesthetic, that the first condition, under which alone 
objects can be intuited, must in fact exist, as a formal basis 
for them, a priori in the mind. With this formal condition 
of sensibility, therefore, all phenomena necessarily corre- 
spond, because it is only through it that they can be phe- 
nomena at all; that is, can be empirically intuited and 
given. Now the question is, whether there do not exist, 
a priori in the mind, conceptions of understanding also, as 
conditions under which alone something, if not intuited, is 
yet thought as object. If this question be answered in the 
affirmative, it follows that all empirical cognition of objects 
is necessarily conformable to such conceptions, since, if 
they are not presupposed, it is impossible that anything can 
be an object of experience. Now all experience contains, 
besides the intuition of the senses through which an object 
is given, a conception also of an object that is given in intui- 
tion. Accordingly, conceptions of objects in general must 
lie as a priori conditions at the foundation of all empirical 
cognition; and consequently, the objective validity of the 
categories, as a priori conceptions, will rest upon this, that 
experience (as far as regards the form of thought) is possible 
only by their means. For in that case they apply necessarily 
and a priori to objects of experience, because only through 
them can an object of experience be thought. 

The whole aim of the transcendental deduction of all 
a priori conceptions is to show that these conceptions are a 
priori conditions oi the possibility of all experience. Con- 


ceptions whicli afEord us the objective foundation of the 
possibility of experience, are for that very reason necessary. 
But the analysis of the experiences in which they are met 
with is not deduction, but only an illustration of them, be- 
cause from experience they could never derive the attribute 
of necessity. Without their original applicability and rela- 
tion to all possible experience, in which all objects of cog- 
nition present themselves, the relation of the categories to 
objects, of whatever nature, would be quite incomprehensible. 

The celebrated Locke, for want of due reflection on these 
points, and because he met with pure conceptions of the 
understanding in experience, sought also to deduce them 
from experience, and yet proceeded so inconsequently as to 
attempt, with their aid, to arrive at cognitions which lie far 
beyond the limits of all experience. David Hume perceived 
that, to render this possible, it was necessary that the con- 
ceptions should have an a priori origin. But as he could 
not explain how it was possible that conceptions which are 
not connected with each other in the understanding, must 
nevertheless be thought as necessarily connected in the 
object — and it never occurred to him that the understanding 
itself might, perhaps, by means of these conceptions, be the 
author of the experience in which its objects were presented 
to it — he was forced to derive these conceptions from ex- 
perience, that is, from a subjective necessity arising from 
repeated association of experiences erroneously considered 
to be objective — in one word, from "habit.^' But he pro- 
ceeded with perfect consequence, and declared it to be im- 
possible, with such conceptions and the principles arising 
from them, to overstep the limits of experience. The em- 
pirical derivation, however, which both of these philosophers 
attributed to these conceptions, cannot possibly be recon- 
ciled with the fact that we do possess scientific a priori 
cognitions, namely, those of pure mathematics and general 

The former of these two celebrated men opened a wide 
door to extravagance — (for if reason has once undoubted 


right on its side, it will not allow itself to be confined to 
set limits, by vague recommendations of moderation); the 
latter gave himself up entirely to scepticism — a natural con- 
gequence, after having discovered, as he thought, that the 
faculty of cognition was not trustworthy. We now intend 
to make a trial whether it be not possible safely to conduct 
reason between these two rocks, to assign her determinate 
limits, and yet leave open for her the entire sphere of her 
legitimate activity. 

I shall merely premise an explanation of what the cate- 
gories are. They are conceptions of an object in general, 
by means of which its intuition is contemplated as deter- 
mined in relation to one of the logical functions of judg- 
ment. The following will make this plain. The function 
of the categorical judgment is that of the relation of subject 
to predicate; for example, in the proposition, "All bodies 
are divisible. " But in regard to the merely logical use of 
the understanding, it still remains undetermined to which 
of these two conceptions belongs the function of subject, and 
to which, that of predicate. For we could also say, "Some 
divisible is a body." But the category of substance, when 
the conception of a body is brought under it, determines 
that; and its empirical intuition in experience must be con- 
templated always as subject, and never as mere predicate. 
And so with all the other categories. 

Deduction of the pure Coitceptions of the Dnder- 


Sect. II — Transcendental Deduction of the pure Conceptions 
of the Understanding 

§ 11. Of the Possibility of a Conjunction of the manifold 
Hepresentations given by Sense 

The manifold content in our representations can be given 
in an intuition which is merely sensuous — in other words, la 
nothing but susceptibility; and the form of this intuition 


can exist a priori in our faculty of representation, without 
being anything else but the mode in which the subject is 
aflEeoted. But the conjunction (conjunctio) of a manifold in 
intuition never can be given us by the senses; it cannot 
therefore be contained in the pure form of sensuous intui- 
tion, for it is a spontaneous act of the faculty of representa- 
tion. And as we must, to distinguish it from sensibility, 
entitle this faculty understanding; so all conjunction — • 
whether conscious or unconscious, be it of the manifold in 
intuition, sensuous or non-sensuous, or of several concep- 
tions — is an act of the understanding. To this act we shall 
give the general appellation of synthesis, thereby to indicate, 
at the same time, that we cannot represent anything as con- 
joined in the object without having previously conjoined it 
ourselves. Of all mental notions, that of conjunction is the 
only one which cannot be given through objects, but can be 
originated only by the subject itself, because it is an act 
of its purely spontaneous activity. The reader will easily 
enough perceive that the possibility of conjunction must be 
grounded in the very nature of this act, and that it must 
be equally valid for all conjunction; and that analysis, 
which appears to be its contrary, must, nevertheless, always 
presuppose it; for where the understanding has not pre- 
viously conjoined, it cannot dissect or analyze, because only 
as conjoined by it, must that which is to be analyzed have 
been given to our faculty of representation. 

But the conception of conjunction includes, besides the 
conception of the manifold and of the synthesis of it, that 
of the unity of it also. Conjunction is the representation of 
the synthetical unity of the manifold.' This idea of unity, 
therefore, cannot arise out of that of conjunction; much 
rather does that idea, by combining itself with the represen- 

' Whether the representations are in themselves identical, and consequently 
whether one can be thought analytically by means of and through the other, ia 
a question which we need not at present consider. Our conacicmsness of the 
one, when we speali of the manifold, is always distinguishable from our con- 
Bciousness of the other; and it is only respecting the synthesis of this (possible) 
consciousness that we here treat. 


tation of the manifold, render the conception of congunction 
possible. This unity, which a priori precedes all concep- 
tions of conjunction, is not the category of unity (§ 6); for 
all the categories are based upon logical functions of judg- 
ment, and in these functions we already have conjunction, 
and consequently unity of given conceptions. It is therefore 
evident that the category of unity presupposes conjunction. 
We must therefore look still higher for this unity (as quali- 
tative, § 8), in that, namely, which contains the ground of 
the unity of diverse conceptions in judgments, the ground, 
consequently, of the possibility of the existence of the 
understanding, even in regard to its logical use. 

§ 12. Of the Originally Synthetical Unity of Apperception ' 

The / think must accompany all my representations, for 
otherwise something would be represented in me which 
could not be thought; in other words, the representation 
would either be impossible, or at least be, in relation to me, 
nothing. That representation which can be given previously 
to all thought, is called intuition. All the diversity or 
manifold content of intuition, has, therefore, a necessary 
relation to the / think, in the subject in which this diversity 
is found. But this representation, / think, is an act of 
spontaneity; that is to say, it cannot be regarded as belong- 
ing to mere sensibility. I call it pure apperception, in order 
to distinguish it from empirical; or primitive apperception, 
because it is a self -consciousness which, while it gives birth 
to the representation / think, must necessarily be capable of 
accompanying all our representations. It is in all acts 
of consciousness one and the same, and, unaccompanied by 
it, no representation can exist for me. The unity of 
this apperception I call the transcendental unity of self- 
consciousness, in order to indicate the possibility of a 

' Apperception simply means consciousneaa. Bat it has been considered 
better to employ this term, not only because Kant saw fit to have another word 
besides Bewusstseyn, but because the term consciousness denotes a state, apper- 
ception an act of the ego; and from this alone the superiority of the latter ia 
apparent — Tr. 


priori cognition arising from it. For the manifold repre- 
sentations which are given in an intuition would not all of 
them be my representations, if they did not all belong to 
one self-consciousness, that is, as my representations (even 
although I am not conscious of them as such), they must 
conform to the condition under which alone they can exist 
together in a common self -consciousness, because otherwise 
they would not all without exception belong to me. From 
this primitive conjunction follow many important results. 

For example, this universal identity of the apperception 
of the manifold given in intuition, contains a synthesis of 
representations, and is possible only by means of the con- 
sciousness of this synthesis. For the empirical consciousness 
which accompanies different representations is in itself frag- 
mentary and disunited, and without relation to the identity 
of the subject. This relation, then, does not exist because I 
accompany every representation with consciousness, but be- 
cause I join one representation to another, and am conscious 
of the synthesis of them. Consequently, only because I can 
connect a variety of given representations in one conscious- 
ness, is it possible that I can represent to myself the identity 
of consciousness in these representations; in other words, 
the analytical unity of apperception is possible only under 
the presupposition of a synthetical unity.' The thought, 
"These representations given in intuition, belong all of them 
to me," is accordingly just the same as, "I unite them in 

• All general conceptions — as such — depend, for their existence, on the 
analytical unity o£ consciousness. For example, when I think of red in general, 
I thereby think to myself a property which (as a characteristic mark) can be 
discovered somewhere, or can be united with other representations; conse- 
quently, it is only by means of a forethought possible synthetical unity that I 
can think to myself the analytical. A representation which is cogitated as 
common to different representations, is regarded as belon^ng to such as, besides 
tMs common representation, contain something different; consequently it must 
be previously thought in synthetical unity with other although only possible 
tepresentations, before I can think in it the analytical unity of consciousness 
which makes it a concepiaa eommwnis. And thus the synthetical unity of 
apperception is the highest point with which we must connect every operation 
«^ the understanding, even the whole of logic, and after it our transcendental 
philosophy; indeed, this faculty is the understanding itself. 


one self -consciousness, or can at least so unite them"; and 
although this thought is not itself the consciousness of the 
synthesis of representations, it presupposes the possibility 
of it; that is to say, for the reason alone, that I can compre- 
hend the variety of my representations in one consciousness, 
do I call them my representations, for otherwise I must have 
as many-colored and various a self as are the representations 
of which I am conscious. Synthetical unity of the manifold 
in intuitions, as given fi priori, is therefore the foundation 
of the identity of apperception itself, which antecedes a priori 
all determinate thought. But the conjunction of representa- 
tions into a conception is not to be found in ob3ects them- 
selves, nor can it be, as it were, borrowed from them and 
taken up into the understanding by perception, but it is on 
the contrary an operation of the understanding itself, which 
is nothing more than the faculty of conjoining a priori, and 
of bringing the variety of given representations under the 
unity of apperception. This principle is the highest in all 
human cognition. 

This fundamental principle of the necessary unity of ap- 
perception is indeed an identical, and therefore analytical 
proposition; but it nevertheless explains the necessity for a 
synthesis of the manifold given in an intuition, without 
which the identity of self-consciousness would be incogi- 
table. For the Ego, as a simple representation, presents 
us with no manifold content; only in intuition, which is 
quite diflEerent from the representation Ego, can it be given 
us, and by means of conjunction it is cogitated in one self- 
consciousness. An understanding, in which all the mani- 
fold should be given by means of consciousness itself, would 
be intuitive; our understanding can only think, and must 
look for its intuition to sense. I am, therefore, conscious of 
my identical self, in relation to all the variety of representa- 
tions given to me in an Intuition, because I call all of them 
my representations- In other words, I am conscious myself 
of a necessary a priori synthesis of my representations, 
which is called the original synthetical unity of appercep- 


tion, under which rank all the representations pr 
me, but that only by means of a synthesis. 

§ 13. The principle of the Synthetical Unity of Appercepiion 
is the highest principle of all exercise of ffie Understanding 

The supreme principle of the possibility of all intuition 
in relation to sensibility was, according to our transcendental 
aesthetic, that all the manifold in intuition be subject to the 
formal conditions of Space and Time. The supreme prin- 
ciple of the possibility of it in relation to the Understanding 
is: that all the manifold in it be subject to conditions of 
the originally synthetical Unity of Apperception.' To the 
former of these two principles are subject all the various 
representations of Intuition, in so far as they are given to 
us; to the latter, in so far as they must be capable of con- 
junction in one consciousness; for without this nothing can 
be thought or cognized, because the given representations 
would ■ not have in common the act of the apperception / 
think; and therefore could not be connected in one self- 

Understanding is, to speak generally, the faculty of Cog- 
nitions. These consist in the determined relation of given 
representations to an object. But an object is that in the 
conception of which the manifold in a given intuition is 
united. Now all union of representations requires unity of 
consciousness in the synthesis of them. Consequently, it is 
the unity of consciousness alone that constitutes the possi- 
bility of representations relating to an object, and therefore 
of their objective validity, and of their becoming cognitions, 
and consequently, the possibility of the existence of the 
understanding itself. 

■ Space and Time, and all portions thereof, are Intuitions; consequently 
are, with a manifold for their content, single representations. (See the Tran- 
scendental Esthetic.) Consequently, they are not pure conceptions, by means 
of which the same consciousness is found in a great number of representations; 
But, on the contrary, they are many representations contained in one, the con- 
Bciousness of which is, so to speak, compounded. The unity of consciousness 
is nevertheless synthetical, and therefore primitive. From this peculiar char- 
acter of consciousness follow many important consequences. (See § 21.) 


The first pure cognition of understanding, then, upon 
which is founded all its other exercise, and which is at the 
same time perfectly independent of all conditions of mere 
sensuous intuition, is the principle of the original synthet- 
ical unity of apperception. Thus the mere form of external 
sensuous intuition, namely, space, affords us, per se, no 
cognition; it merely contributes the manifold in a priori 
intuition to a possible cognition. But, in order to cognize 
something in space (for example, a line) I must draw it, and 
thus produce synthetically a determined conjunction of the 
given manifold, so that the unity of this act is at the same 
time the unity of consciousness (in the conception of a line), 
and by this means alone is an object (a determinate space) 
cognized. The synthetical unity of consciousness is, there- 
fore, an objective condition of all cognition, which I do not 
merely require in order to cognize an object, but to which 
every intuition must necessarily be subject, in order to be- 
come an object for me ; because in any other way, and with- 
out this synthesis, the manifold in intuition could not be 
united in one consciousness. 

This proposition is, as already said, itself analytical, 
although it constitutes the synthetical unity, the condition 
of all thought; for it states nothing more than that all my 
representations, in any given intuition, must be subject to 
the condition which alone enables me to connect them, as 
my representation with the identical self, and so to unite 
them synthetically in one apperception, by means of the 
general expression, / think. 

But this principle is not to be regarded as a principle for 
every possible understanding, but only for that understand- 
ing by means of whose pure apperception in the thought / 
am, no manifold content is given. The understanding or 
mind which contained the manifold in intuition, in and 
through the act itself of its own self -consciousness, in other 
words, an understanding by and in the representation of 
which the objects of the representation should at the same 
time exist, would not require a special act of synthesis of 


the manifold as the condition of the unity of its conscious- 
ness, an act of which the human understanding, which thinks 
only and cannot intuite, has absolute need. But this prin- 
ciple is the first principle of all the operations of our under- 
standing, so that we cannot form the least conception of any 
other possible understanding, either of one such as should 
be itself intuition, or possess a sensuous intuition, but with 
forms different from those of space and time. 

§ 14. What Objective Unity of Self-consciousness is 

It is by means of the transcendental unity of appercep- 
tion that all the manifold given in an intuition is united into 
a conceptioa of the object. On this account it is called ob- 
jective, and must be distinguished from the subjective unity 
of consciousness, which is a determination of the internal sense, 
by means of which the said manifold in intuition is given 
empirically to be so united. Whether I can be empirically 
conscious of the manifold as co-existent or as successive, de- 
pends upon circumstances, or empirical conditions. Hence 
the empirical unity of consciousness by means of association 
of representations, itself relates to a phenomenal world, and 
is wholly contingent. On the contrary, the pure form of 
intuition in time, merely as an intuition, which contains a 
given manifold, is subject to the original unity of conscious- 
ness, and that solely by means of the necessary relation of 
the manifold in intuition to the / think, consequently by 
means of the pure synthesis of the understanding, which lies 
a priori at the foundation of all empirical synthesis. The 
transcendental unity of apperception is alone objectively 
valid ; the empirical which we do not consider in this essay, 
and which is merely a unity deduced from the former under 
given conditions in concreto, possesses only subjective 
validity. One person connects the notion conveyed in a 
word with one thing, another with another thing; and the 
unity of consciousness in that which is empirical, is, in rela- 
tion to that which is given by experience, not necessarily 
and universally valid. 


§ 15. The Logical Form of all Judgments consists in the Objective 
Unity of Apperception of the Conceptions contained therein 

I could never satisfy myself with the definition which 
logicians give of a judgment. It is, according to them, the 
representation of a relation between two conceptions. I shall 
not dwell here on the faultiness of this definition, in that it 
suits only for categorical and not for hypothetical or dis- 
junctive judgments, these latter containing a relation not of 
conceptions but of judgments themselves; — a blunder from 
which many evil results have followed.' It is more impor- 
tant for our present purpose to observe, that this definition 
does not determine in what the said relation consists. 

But if I investigate more closely the relation of given 
cognitions in every judgment, and distinguish it, as belong- 
ing to the understanding, from the relation which is pro- 
duced according to laws of the reproductive imagination 
(which has only subjective validity), I find that a judgment 
is nothing but the mode of bringing given cognitions under 
the objective unity of apperception. This is plain from our 
use of the term of relation is in judgments, in order to dis- 
tinguish the objective unity of given representations from 
the subjective unity. For this term indicates the relation 
of these representations to the original apperception, and 
also their necessary unity, even although the judgment is 
empirical, therefore contingent, as in the judgment, "All 
bodies are heavy." I do not mean by this, that these rep- 
resentations do necessarily belong to each other in empirical 
intuition, but that by means of the necessary unity of apper- 
ception they belong to each other in the synthesis of intui- 
tions, that is to say, they belong to each other according to 

' The tedious doctrine of the four syllogistic figures concerns only categori- 
cal syllogisms ; and although it is nothing more than an artifioe by surrep- 
titiously introducing immediate conclusions (consequentice immediatcd) among 
the premises of a pure syllogism, to give rise to an appearance of more modes 
of drawing a conclusion than that in the first figure, the artifice would not have 
had much success, had not its authors succeeded in bringing categorical judg- 
ments into exclusive respect, as those to which all others must be referred 
— a doctrine, however, which, according to § 5, is utterly false. 


principles of the objective determination of all our represen- 
tations, in so far as cognition can arise from them, these 
principles being all deduced from the main principle of the 
transcendental unity of apperception. In this way alone can 
there arise from this relation a judgment, that is, a relation 
which has objective validity, and is perfectly distinct from 
that relation of the very same representations which has only 
subjective validity — a relation, to wit, which is produced ac- 
cording to laws of association. According to these laws, I 
could only say: "When I hold in my hand or carry a body, 
I feel an impression of weight"; but I could not say: "It, 
the body, is heavy"; for this is tantamount to saying both 
these representations are conjoined in the object, that is, 
without distinction as to the condition of the subject, and 
do not merely stand together in my perception, however 
frequently the perceptive act may be repeated. 

§ 16. All Sensuous Intuitions are subject to the Categories, as 

Conditions under which alone the manifold Content 

of them can be united in one Consciousness 

The manifold content given in a sensuous intuition comes 
necessarily under the original synthetical unity of appercep- 
tion, because thereby alone is the unity of intuition possible 
(§ 13). But that act of the understanding, by which the 
manifold content of given representations (whether intuitiong 
or conceptions), is brought under one apperception, is the 
logical function of judgments (§ 15). All the manifold 
therefore, in so far as it is given in one empirical intuition, 
is determined in relation to one of the logical func- 
tions of judgment, by means of which it is brought into 
union in one consciousness. Now the categories are noth- 
ing else than these functions of judgment, so far as the 
manifold in a given intuition is determined in relation to 
them (§ 9). Consequently, the manifold in a given intuition 
is necessarily subject to the categories of the understanding. 


§ 17. Observation 

The manifold in an intuition, which I call mine, is repre- 
sented by means of the synthesis of the understanding, as 
belonging to the necessary unity of self -consciousness, and 
this takes place by means of the category.' The category 
indicates accordingly, that the empirical consciousness of 
a given manifold in an intuition is subject to a pure self- 
consciousness a priori, in the same manner as an empirical 
intuition is subject to a pure sensuous intuition, which is 
also a priori. — In the above proposition, then, lies the be- 
ginning of a deduction of the pure conceptions of the under- 
standing. Now, as the categories have their origin in the 
understanding alone, independently of sensibility, I must in 
my deduction make abstraction of the mode in which the 
manifold of an empirical intuition is given, in order to fix 
my attention exclusively on the unity which is brought by 
the understanding into the intuition by means of the cate- 
gory. In what follows (§ 22), it will be shown, from the 
mode in which the empirical intuition is given in the faculty 
of sensibility, that the unity which belongs to it is no other 
than that which the category (according to § 16) imposes on 
the manifold in a given intuition, and thus its a priori valid- 
ity in regard to all objects of sense being established, the 
purpose of our deduction will be fully attained. 

But there is one thing in the above demonstration, of 
which I could not make abstraction, namely, that the mani« 
fold to be intuited must be given previously to the synthesis 
of the understanding, and independently of it. How this 
takes place remains here undetermined. For if I cogitate 
an understanding which was itself intuitive (as, for example, 
a divine understanding which should not represent given 
objects, but by whose representation the objects themselves 
should be given or produced) — the categories would possess 

' The proof of tiiis rests on the represented unity of intuition, by means of 
which an object is given, and which always includes in itself a synthesis of the 
manifold to be intuited, and also the relation of this latter to unity of apper- 


no signification in relation to such a faculty of cognition. 
They are merely rules for an understanding, whose whole 
power consists in thought, that is, in the act of submitting 
the synthesis of the manifold which is presented to it in intu- 
ition from a very difEerent quarter, to the unity of appercep- 
tion; — a faculty, therefore, which cognizes nothing per se, 
but only connects and arranges the material of cognition, 
the intuition, namely, which must be presented to it by 
means of the object. But to show reasons for this peculiar 
character of our understandings, that it produces unity of 
apperception a priori only by means of categories, and a cer- 
tain kind and number thereof, is as impossible as to explain 
why we are endowed with precisely so many functions of 
judgment and no more, or why time and space are the only 
forms of our intuition. 

§ 18. In Cognition, its Application to Objects of Experience is the 
only legitimate use of the Category 

To think an object and to cognize an object are by no 
means the same thing. In coguition there are two elements: 
first, the conception, whereby an object is cogitated (the 
category); and, secondly, the intuition, whereby the object 
is given. For supposing that to the conception a corre- 
sponding intuition could not be given, it would still be a 
thought as regards its form, but without any object, and no 
cognition of anything would be possible by means of it, in^ 
asmuch as, so far as I knew, there existed and could exist 
nothing to which my thought could be applied. Now all 
intuition possible to us is sensuous; consequently, our 
thought of an object, by means of a pure conception of 
the understanding, can become cognition for us, only in 
8o far as this conception is applied to objects of the senses. 
Sensuous intuition is either pure intuition (space and time) 
or empirical intuition — of that which is immediately repre- 
sented in space and time by means of sensation as real. 
Through the determination of pure intuition we obtain a 
priori cognitions of objects, as in mathematics, but only as 


regards their form as phenomena; whetker there can exist 
things which must be intuited in this form is not thereby 
established. All mathematical conceptions, therefore, are 
not per se cognition, except in so far as we presuppose that 
there exist things, which can only be represented conforma- 
bly to the form of our pure sensuous intuition. But things 
in space and time are given, only in so far as they are per- 
ceptions (representations accompanied with sensation), there- 
fore only by empirical representation. Consequently the 
pure conceptions of the understanding, even when they are 
applied to intuitions a priori (as in mathematics), produce 
cognition only in so far as these (and therefore the concep- 
tions of the understanding by means of them) can be ap- 
plied to empirical intuitions. Consequently the categories 
do not, even by means of pure intuition, afford us any cog- 
nition of things ; they can only do so in so far as they can 
be applied to empirical intuition. That is to say, the cate- 
gories serve only to render empirical cognition possible. 
But this is what we call experience: Consequently, in cog- 
nition, their application to objects of experience is the only 
legitimate use of the categories. 

§ 19 
The foregoing proposition is of the utmost importance, 
for it determines the limits of the exercise of the pure con- 
ceptions of the understanding in regard to objects, just as 
transcendental aesthetic determined the limits of the exercise 
of the pure form of our sensuous intuition. Space and time, 
as conditions of the possibility of the presentation of objects 
to us, are valid no further than for objects of sense, conse- 
quently, only for experience. Beyond these limits they rep- 
resent to us nothing, for they belong only to sense, and have 
no reality apart from it. The pure conceptions of the under- 
standing are free from this limitation, and extend to objects 
of intuition in general, be the intuition like or unlike to 
ours, provided only it be sensuous, and not intellectual. 
But this extension of conceptioiK; beyond the range of oue 


intuition is of no advantage ; for they are then mere empty 
conceptions of objects, as to the possibility or impossibility 
of the existence of which they furnish us with no means of 
discovery. They are mere forms of thought, without objec- 
tive reality, because we have no intuition to which the 
synthetical unity of apperception, which alone the categories 
contain, could be applied, for the purpose of determining 
an object. Our sensuous and empirical intuition can alone 
give them significance and meaning. 

If, then, we suppose an object of a non-sensuous intuition 
to be given, we can in that case represent it by all those 
predicates, which are implied in the presupposition that 
nothing appertaining to sensuous intuition belongs to it; for 
example, that it is not extended, or in space ; that its dura- 
tion is not time; that in it no change (the effect of the deter- 
minations in time) is to be inet with, and so on. But it is 
no proper knowledge if I merely indicate what the intuition 
of the object is not, without being able to say what is con- 
tained in it, for I have not shown the possibility of an object 
to which my pure conception of understanding could be 
applicable, because I have not been able to furnish any iu- 
tuition corresponding to it, but am only able to say that our 
intuition is not valid for it. But the most important point 
is this, that to a something of this kind not one category can 
be found applicable. Take, for example, the conception of 
substance, that is something that can exist as subject, but 
never as mere predicate; in regard to this conception I am 
quite ignorant whether there can really be anything to 
correspond to such a determination of thought, if empirical 
intuition did not afford me the occasion for its application. 
But of this more in the sequel. 

§ 20. Of the Application of the Categories to Objects of the 
Senses in general 

The pure conceptions of the understanding apply to ob- 
jects of intuition in general, through the understanding 
alone, whether the intuition be our own or some other, pro- 


vided only it be sensuous, but are, for this very reason, mere 
forms of thought, by means of -which alone no determined 
object can be cognized. The synthesis or conjunction of the 
manifold in these conceptions relates, we hare said, only to 
the unity of apperception, and is for this reason the ground 
of the possibility of a priori cognition, in so far as this cog- 
nition is dependent on the understanding. This synthesis 
is, therefore, not merely transcendental, but also purely intel- 
lectual. But because a certain form of sensuous intuition 
exists in the mind a priori which rests on the receptivity of 
the representative faculty (sensibility), the understanding, 
as a spontaneity, is able to determine the internal sense by 
means of the diversity of given representations, conformably 
to the synthetical unity of apperception, and thus to cogitate 
the synthetical unity of the apperception of the manifold of 
sensuous intuition a priori, as the condition to which must 
necessarily be submitted all objects of human intuition. 
And in this manner the categories as mere forms of thought 
receive objective reality, that is application to objects which 
are given to us in intuition, but that only as phenomena, 
for it is only of phenomena that we are capable of a priori 

This synthesis of the manifold of sensuous intuition, 
which is possible and necessary a priori, may be called 
figurative {synthesis sp'eciosa), in contradistinction to that 
which is cogitated in the mere category in regard to the 
manifold of an intuition in general, and is called connection 
or conjunction .of the understanding {synthesis intellectualis). 
Both are transcendental, not merely because they themselves 
precede a priori all experience, but also because they form 
the basis for the possibility of other cognition a priori. 

But the figurative synthesis, when it has relation only to 
the originally synthetical unity of apperception, that is, to 
the transcendental unity cogitated in the categories, must 
to be distinguished from the purely intellectual conjunc- 
tion, be entitled the transcendental synthesis of imagination.^ 
' See note on page IS. 


Imagination is the faculty of representing an object even 
without its presence in intuition. Now, as all our intuition 
is sensuous, imagination, by reason of the subjective condi- 
tion under which alone it can give a corresponding intuition 
to the conceptions of the understanding, belongs to sensi- 
bility. But in so far as the synthesis of the imagination is 
an act of spontaneity, which is determinative, and not, like 
sense, merely determinable, and which is consequently able 
to determine sense a priori, according to its form, conform- 
ably to the unity of apperception, in so far is the imagina- 
tion a faculty of determining sensibility a priori, and its 
synthesis of intuitions, according to the categories, must be 
the transcendental synthesis of the imagination. It is an 
operation of the understanding on sensibility, and the first 
application of the understanding to objects of possible intui- 
tion, and at the same time the basis for the exercise of the 
other functions of that faculty. As figurative, it is distin- 
guished from the merely intellectual synthesis, which is 
produced by the understanding alone, without the aid of 
imagination. Kow, in so far as imagination is spontaneity, 
I sometimes call it also the productive imagination, and dis- 
tinguish it from the reproductive, the synthesis of which is 
subject entirely to empirical laws, those of association, 
namely, and which, therefore, contributes nothing to the 
explanation of the possibility of a priori cognition, and for 
this reason belongs not to transcendental philosophy, but to 

We have now arrived at the proper place for explaining 
the paradox, which must have struck every one in our ex- 
position of the internal sense (§ 6), namely, how this sense 
represents us to our own consciousness, only as we appear 
to ourselves, not as we are in ourselves, because, to wit, we 
intuite ourselves only as we are inwardly affected. Now 
this appears to be contradictory, inasmuch as we thus stand 
in a passive relation to ourselves; and therefore, in the 
systems of psychology, the internal sense is commonly held 


to be one with the faculty of apperception, while "we, on 
the contrary, carefully distinguish them. 

That which determines the internal sense is the under- 
standing, and its original power of conjoining the manifold 
of intuition, that is, of bringing this under an apperception 
(upon which rests the possibility of the understanding itself). 
Now, as the human understanding is not in itself a faculty 
of intuition, and is unable to exercise such a power, in order 
to conjoin, as it were, the manifold of its own intuition, the 
synthesis of understanding is, considered per se, nothing but 
the unity of action, of which, as such, it is self-conscious, 
even apart from sensibility, by which, moreover, it is able 
to determine our internal sense in respect of the manifold 
which may be presented to it according to the form of sen- 
suous intuition. Thus, under the name of a transcendental 
synthesis of imagination, the understanding exercises an 
activity upon the passive subject, whose faculty it is; and 
so we are right in saying that the internal sense is affected 
thereby. Apperception and its synthetical unity are by no 
means one and the same with the internal sense. The 
former, as the source of all our synthetical conjunction, 
applies, under the name of the categories, to the manifold 
of intuition in general, prior to all sensuous intuition of ob- 
jects. The internal sense, on the contrary, contains merely 
the form of intuition, but without any synthetical conjunc- 
tion of the manifold therein, and consequently does not con- 
tain any determined intuition, which is possible only through 
consciousness of the determination of the manifold by the 
transcendental act of the imagination (synthetical influence 
of the understanding on the internal sense), which I have 
named figurative synthesis. 

This we can indeed always perceive in ourselves. We 
cannot cogitate a geometrical line without drawing it in ' 
thought, nor a circle without describing it, nor represent the 
three dimensions' of space without drawing three lines from 
t he same point' perpend icular to one another. We cannot 
' Length, breadth, and thickness.— Ch * In different planes.— JV. 


even cogitate time, unless, in drawing a straiglit line (whicli 
is to serve as the external figurative representation of time), 
we fix our attention on the act of the synthesis of the mani- 
fold, whereby we determine successively the internal sense, 
and thus attend also to the succession of this determination. 
Motion as an act of the subject (not as a determination of 
an object),' consequently the synthesis of the manifold in 
space, if we make abstraction of space and attend merely to 
the act by which we determine the internal sense according 
to its form, is that which produces the conception of succes- 
sion. The understanding, therefore, does by no means find 
in the internal sense any such. synthesis of the manifold, but 
yroduces it, in that it affects this sense. At the same time 
how [the] / who think is distinct from the 1 which intuites 
itself (other modes of intuition being cogitable as at least 
possible), and yet one and the same with this latter as the 
same subject; how, therefore, I am able to say: "I, as an 
intelligence and thinking subject, cognize myself as an object 
thought, so far as I am, moreover, given to myself in intui- 
tion — only, like other phenomena, not as I am in myself, 
a-nd as considered by the understanding, but merely as I 
appear" — is a question that has in it neither more nor less 
difficulty than the question — "How can I be an object to 
myself ?" or this — "How I can be an object of my own intui- 
tion and internal perceptions ?' ' But that such must be the 
fact, if we admit that space is merely a pure form of 
the phenomena of external sense, can be clearly proved by 
the consideration that we cannot represent time, which is 
not an object of external intuition, in any other way than 
under the image of a line, which we draw in thought, a 
mode of representation without which we could not cognize 
the unity of its dimension, and also that we are necessitated 

' Motion of an object in space doea not belong to a pure science, conse- 
quently not to geometry; because, that a thing is movable cannot be known 
a 'priori, but only from experience. But motion, considered as the description 
of a space, is a pure act of the successive synthesis of the manifold in external 
intuition by means of productive imagination, and belongs not only to geometry, 
but even to transcendental philosophy. 
XI — Science — 7 


to take our determination of periods of time, or of points ot 
time, for all our internal perceptions from the changes which 
"we perceive in outward things. It follows that we must 
arrange the determinations of the internal sense, as phe- 
nomena in time, exactly in the same manner as we arrange 
those of the external senses in space. And consequently, if 
WG grant respecting this latter, that hy means of them we 
know objects only in so far as we are affected externally, 
we must also confess, with regard to the internal sense, that 
by means of it we intuite ourselves only as we are internally 
affected by ourselves; in other words, as regards internal 
intuition, we cognize our own subject only as phenomenon, 
and not as it is in itself. ' 


On the other hand, in the transcendental synthesis of 
the manifold content of representations, consequently in the 
synthetical unity of apperception, I am conscious of myself, 
not as I appear to myself, nor as I am in myself, but only 
that / am. This representation is a Thought, not an Intui- 
tion. Now, as in order to cognize ourselves, in addition to 
the act of thinking, which subjects the manifold of every 
possible intuition to the unity of apperception, there is 
necessary a determinate mode of intuition, whereby this 
manifold is given ; although my own existence is certainly 
not mere phenomenon (much less mere illusion), the deter- 
mination of my existence" can only take place conformably 

' I do not see wJiy so much difficulty should be found In admitting that our 
internal sense is aiJected by ourselves. Every act of attention exemplifies it. 
In such an act the understanding deternunes the internal sense by the synthetil 
cal conjunction which it cogitates, conformably to the internal intuition which 
corresponds to the manifold in the synthesis of the understanding. How much 
the mind is usually affected thereby every one will be able to perceive in himself. 

' The / think expresses the act of determining my own existence. My 
existence is thus already given by the act of consciousness ; but the mode in 
which I must determine my existence, that is, the mode in which I must place 
the manifold belonging to my existence, is not thereby given. For this purpose 
intuition of self is required, and this intuition possesses a form given a priori, 
namely, time, which is sensuous, and belongs to our receptivity of the deter- 
minable. Now, as I do not possess another Intuition of self which gives the 
determining in me (of the spontaneity of which I am conscious), prior to the act 
of determination, in the same manner as time gives the determinable, it is clear 


to the form of the internal sense, according to the particular 
mode in which the manifold which I conjoin is given in in- 
ternal inttiition, and I have therefore no knowledge of myself 
as I am, but merely as I appear to myself. The conscious- 
ness of self is thus very far from a knowledge of self, in 
which I do not use the categories, whereby I cogitate an 
object, by means of the conjunction of the manifold in one 
apperception. In the same way as I require, in order to the 
cognition of an object distinct from myself, not only the 
thought of an object in general (in the category), but also 
an intuition by which to determine that general conception, 
in the same way do I require, in order to the cognition of 
myself, not only the consciousness of myself or the thought 
that I think myself, but in addition an intuition of the 
manifold in myself, by which to determine this thought. It 
is true that I exist as an intelligence which is conscious only 
of its faculty of conjunction or synthesis, but subjected in 
relation to the manifold which this intelligence has to con- 
join to a limitative conjunction called the internal sense. 
My intelligence (that is, I) can render that conjunction or 
synthesis perceptible only according to the relations of time, 
which are quite beyond the proper sphere of the conceptions 
of the understanding, and consequently cognize itself in re- 
spect to an intuition (which cannot possibly be intellectual, 
nor given by the understanding), only as it appears to itself, 
and not as it would cognize itself, if its intuition were 

§ 22. Transcendental Deduction of the universally possible em- 
ployment 171 experience of the Pure Conceptions 
of the Understanding 

In the metaphysical deduction, the a priori origin of the 
categories was proved by their complete accordance with 

that I am unable to determine my own existence as that of a spontaneous being, 
but I am only able to represent to myself the spontaneity of my thought, that 
Jb, of my determination, and my existence remains ever determinable in a purely 
sensuous manner, that is to say, like the existence of a phenomenon. But it is 
because of this spontaneity that I call myself an intelligence. 


the general logical functions of thought; in the transcenden- 
ial deduction was exhibited the possibility of the categories 
as a priori cognitions of objects of an intuition in general 
(§ 16 and 17). At present we are about to explain the pos- 
sibility of cognizing, a priori, by means of the categories, all 
objects which can possibly be presented to our senses, not, 
indeed, according to the form of their intuition, but accord- 
ing to the laws of their conjunction or synthesis, and thus, 
as it were, of prescribing laws to nature, and even of render- 
ing nature possible. For if the categories were adequate to 
this task, it would not be evident to us why everything that 
is presented to our senses must be subject to those laws 
which have an a priori origin in the understanding itself. 

I premise, that by the term synthesis of apprehension, I 
understand the combination of the manifold in an empirical 
intuition, whereby perception, that is, empirical conscious- 
ness of the intuition (as phenomenon), is possible. 

We have a priori forms of the external and internal 
sensuous intuition in the representations of space and time, 
and to these must the synthesis of apprehension of the mani- 
fold in a phenonemon be always conformable, because the 
synthesis itself can only take place according to these forms. 
But space and time are not merely forms of sensuous intui- 
tion, but mtuitions themselves (which contain a manifold), 
and therefore contain a priori the determination of the unity 
of this manifold.* (See the Trans. ^Esthetic.) Therefore is 
unity of the synthesis of the manifold without or within us, 
consequently also a conjunction to which all that is to be 

' Space represeated as an object (as geometry really requires it to be) con- 
•ains more than the mere form of the intuition ; namely, a combination of the 
manifold given according to the form of sensibility into a representation tliat can 
be intuited ; so that the form of the intuition gives us merely the manifold, but 
the formal intuition gives unity of representation. In the ^Esthetic I regarded 
this unity as belonging entirely to sensibility, for the purpose of indicating that 
it anlecedes all conceptions, although it presupposes a synthesis which does not 
belong to sense, through which alone, however, all our conceptions of space 
and time are possible. For as by means of this unity alone (the understanding 
determining the sensibility) space and time are given as intuitions, it follows 
that the unity of this intuition a priori belongs to space and time, and not to 
the conception of the understanding (§ 20). 


represented as determined in space or time must correspond, 
giTen a priori along with (not in) these intuitions, as the 
condition of the synthesis of all apprehension of them. But 
this synthetical unity can be no other than thai; of the con- 
junction of the manifold of a given intuition in general, in a 
primitive act of consciousness, according to the categories, 
but applied to our sensuous intuition. Consequently all 
synthesis, whereby alone is even perception possible, is 
subject to the categories. And, as experience is cognition 
by means of conjoined perceptions, the categories are condi- 
tions of the possibility of experience, and are therefore valid 
a priori for all objects of experience. 

When, then, for example, I make the empirical intuition 
of a house by apprehension of the manifold contained therein 
into a perception, the necessary unity of space and of my ex- 
tornal sensuous intuition lies at the foundation of this act, 
and I, as it were, draw the form of the house conformably 
to this synthetical unity lof the manifold in space. But this 
very synthetical unity remains, even when I abstract the 
form of space, and has its seat in the understanding, and is 
in fact the category of the synthesis of the homogeneous in 
an intuition; that is to say, the category of quantity, to 
which the aforesaid synthesis of apprehension, that is, the 
perception, must be completely conformable.'' 

To take another example, when I perceive the freezing 
of water, I apprehend two states (fluidity and solidity), 
which as such stand toward each other mutually in a rela- 
tion of time. But in the time, which I place as an internal 
intuition, at the foundation of this phenomenon, I represent 
to myself synthetical unity of the manifold, without which 
the aforesaid relation oouid not be given in an intuition as 
^iermined (in regard to the succession of time). !N^ow this 

• In this manner it is proved, that the synthesis of apprehension, which is 
empirical, must necessarily te conformable to the synthesis of apperception, 
■which is intellectual, and contained a priori in the category. It is one and the 
same spontaneity which at one time, under the name of imagination, at another 
under that of understanding, produces conjunction in the manifold of intuition. 


synthetical unity, as the a priori condition under which I 
conjoin the manifold of an intuition, is, if I make abstraction 
of the permanent form of my internal intuition (that is to 
say, of time), the category of cause, by means of which, 
when applied to my sensibility, / determine everything that 
occurs according to relations of time. Consequently apprehen- 
sion in such an event, and the event itself, as far as regards 
the possibility of its perception, stands under the conception 
of the relation of cause and effect: and so in all other cases. 

Categories are conceptions which prescribe laws a priori 
to phenomena, consequently to nature as the complex of all 
phenomena {natura materialiter spectata). And now the 
question arises — inasmuch as these categories are not de- 
rived from nature, and do not regulate themselves accord- 
ing to her as their model (for in that case they would be 
empirical) — how it is conceivable that nature must regulate 
herself according to them, in other words, how the catego- 
ries can determine a priori the synthesis of the manifold of 
nature, and yet not derive their origin from her. The fol- 
lowing is the solution of this enigma. 

It is not in the least more difficult to conceive how the 
laws of the phenomena of nature must harmonize with the 
understanding and with its a priori form — that is, its faculty 
of conjoining the manifold — than it is to understand how the 
phenomena themselves must correspond with the a priori 
form of our sensuous intuition. For laws do not exist in 
the phenomena any more than the phenomena exist as things 
in themselves. Laws do not exist except by relation to the 
subject in which the phenomena inhere, in so far as it pos- 
sesses understanding, just as phenomena have no existence 
except by relation to the same existing subject in so far as 
'\t has senses. To things as things in themselves, conform- 
ability to law must necessarily belong independently of an 
understanding to cognize them. But phenomena are only 
representations of things which are utterly unknown inr re- 
spect to what they are in themselves. But as mere repre- 


sentations, they stand under do law of conjunction except 
that which the conjoining faculty prescribes. Now that 
which conjoins the manifold of sensuous intuition is im- 
agination, a mental act to which understanding contributes 
unity of intellectual synthesis, and sensibility, manifoldness 
of apprehension. Now as all possible perception depends on 
the synthesis of apprehension, and this empirical synthesis 
itself on the transcendental, consequently on the categories, 
it is evident that all possible perceptions, and therefore every- 
thing that can attain to empirical consciousness, that is, all 
phenomena of nature, must, as regards their conjunction, be 
subject to the categories. And nature (considered merely 
as nature in general) is dependent on them as the original 
ground of her necessary conformability to law (as natura 
formaliter spectata). But the pure faculty (of the under- 
standing) of prescribing laws a priori to phenomena by 
means of mere categories, is not competent to enounce 
other or more laws than those on which a nature in gen- 
eral, as a conformability to law of phenomena of space and 
time, depends. Particular laws, inasmuch as they concern 
empirically determined phenomena, cannot be entirely de- 
duced from pure laws, although they all stand under them. 
Experience must be superadded in order to know these 
particular laws; but in regard to experience in general, 
and everything that can be cognized as an object thereof, 
these a priori laws are our only rule and guide. 

§ 23. Result of this Deduction of the Cpnceptions of the 

We cannot think any object except by means of the cate- 
gories; we cannot cognize any thought except by means of 
intuitions corresponding to these conceptions. Now all our 
intuitions are sensuous, and our cognition, in so far as the 
object of it is given, is empirical. But empirical cognition 
is experience ; consequently no a priori cognition is possible 
for as, except of objects of possible experience.^ 

> Iiest my readers should stumble at this assertion, and the conclusions that 
may be too rashly drawn from it, I must remind them that the categories in the 

152 oRrriQVE of pure reason 

But this cognition, whieti is limited to objects of experi- 
ence, is not for that reason derived entirely from experience, 
but — and this is asserted of the pure intuitions and the pure 
conceptions of the understanding — ^there are, unquestionably, 
elements of cognition, which exist in the mind a priori. Now 
there are only two ways in which a necessary harmony of ex- 
perience with the conceptions of its objects can be cogitated. 
Either experience makes these conceptions possible, or the 
conceptions make experience possible. The former of these 
statements will not hold good with respect to the categories 
(nor in regard to pure sensuous intuition), for they are a 
priori conceptions, and therefore independent of experience. 
The assertion of an empirical origin would attribute to them 
a sort of generatio cequivoca. Consequently, nothing remains 
but to adopt the second alternative (which presents us with a 
system, as it were, of the Epigenesis of pure reason), namely, 
that on the part of the understanding the categories do con- 
tain the grounds of the possibility of all experience. But 
with respect to the questions how they mak« experience pos- 
sible, and what are the principles of the 3)ossibility thereof 
with which they present us in their application to phenom- 
ena, the following section on the transcendental exercise 
of the faculty of judgment will inform the reader. 

It is quite possible that some one may propose a species 
of prceformation-system of pure reason — a middle way be- 
tween the two — to wit, that the categories are neither innate 
and first a priori principles of cognition, nor derived from 
experience, but are merely subjective aptitudes for thought 
implanted in us contemporaneously with our existence which 
were so ordered and disposed by our Creator, that their ex- 
ercise perfectly harmonizes with the laws of nature which 

act of thought are by no means limited by the conditions of our sensuous intui- 
tion, but have an unbounded sphere of action. It is only the cognition of the 
object of thought, the determining of the object, which requires intuition. In 
the absence of Intuition, our thought of an object may still have true and useful 
consequences in regard to the exercise of reason by the subject But as this 
exercise of reason is not always directed on the determination of the object in 
oliher words, on cognition thereof, but also on the determination of the subject 
and its volition, 1 4o Jiot intend to treat of it in this place. 


regulate experience. Now, not to mention that with such 
a hypothesis it is impossible to say at what point we musk 
stop in the employment of predetermined aptitudes, the fact 
that the categories would in this case entirely lose that char- 
acter of necessity which is essentially involved in the very 
conception of them, is a conclusive objection to it. The 
conception of cause, for example, which expresses the ne- 
cessity of an effect under a presupposed condition, would 
be false, if it rested only upon such an arbitrary subjective 
necessity of uniting certain empirical representations accord- 
ing to such a rule of relation. I could not then say — "The 
effect is connected with its cause in the object (that is, nec- 
essarily)," but only, "I am so constituted that I can think 
this representation as so connected, and not otherwise." 
Now this is just what the sceptic wants. For in this case, 
all our knowledge, depending on the supposed objective 
validity of our judgment, is nothing but mere illusion; nor 
would there be wanting people who would deny any such 
subjective necessity in respect to themselves, though they 
must feel it. At all events, we could not dispute with any 
one on that which merely depends on the manner in which 
his subject is organized. 

Short view of the above Deduction 
The foregoing deduction is an exposition of the pure 
conceptions of the understanding (and with them of all the- 
oretical a priori cognition), as principles of the possibility 
of experience, but of experience as the determination of all 
phenomena in space and time in general — of experience, 
finally, from the principle of the original synthetical unity 
•of apperception, as the form of the understanding in relation 
lo time and space as original forms of sensibility. 

I consider the division by paragraphs to be necessary only 
up to this point, because we had to treat of the elementary 
conceptions. As we now proceed to the exposition of the 
employment of these, I shall not designate the chapters in 
this manner any further. 



General logic is constructed upon a plan which coincides 
exactly with the division of the higher faculties of cognition. 
These are, Understanding, Judgment, and Reason. This sci- 
ence, accordingly, treats in its analytic of Conceptions, Judg- 
ments, and Conclusions in exact correspondence with the func- 
tions and order of those mental powers which we include 
generally under the generic denomination of understanding. 

As this merely formal logic makes abstraction of all con- 
tent of cognition, whether pure or empirical, and occupies 
itself with the mere form of thought (discursive cognition), 
it must contain in its analytic a canon for reason. For the 
form of reason has its law, which, without taking into con- 
sideration the particular nature of the cognition about which 
it is employed, can be discovered a priori, by the simple 
analysis of the action of reason into its momenta. 

Transcendental logic, limited as it is to a determinate 
content, that of pure a priori cognitions, to wit, cannot imi- 
tate general logic in this division. For it is evident that the 
transcendental employment of reason is not objectively valid, 
and therefore does not belong to the logic of truth (that is, to 
analytic), but, as a logic of illusion, occupies a particular de- 
partment in the scholastic system under the name of tran- 
scendental Dialectic. 

Understanding and judgment accordingly possess in tran- 
scendental logic a canon of objectively valid, and therefore 
true exercise, and are comprehended in the analytical de- 
partment of that logic. But reason, in her endeavors to 
arrive by a priori means at some true statement concerning 
objects, and to extend cognition beyond the bounds of pos- 
sible experience, is altogether dialectic, and her illusory 
assertions cannot be constructed into a canon such as an 
analytic ought to contain. 


Accordingly, the analytic of principles will be merely a 
canon for the faculty of judgment, for the instruction of this 
faculty in its application to phenomena of the pure concep- 
tions of the understanding, which contain the necessary con- 
dition for the establishment of a priori laws. On this ac- 
count, although the subject of the following chapters is the 
especial principles of understanding, I shall make use of the 
term ^^ Doctrine of the faculty of judgment,^' in order to define 
more particularly my present purpose. 



If understanding in general be defined as the faculty of 
laws or rules, the faculty of judgment may be termed the 
faculty of subsumption under these rules; that is, of distin- 
guishing whether this or that does or does not stand under 
a given rule {casus datce legis). General logic contains no 
directions or precepts for the faculty of judgment, nor can 
it contain any such. For as it makes abstraction of all content 
of cognition, no duty is left for it, except that of exposing 
analytically the mere form of cognition in conceptions, judg- 
ments and conclusions, and of thereby establishing formal 
rules for all exercise of the understanding. Now if this 
logic wished to give some general direction how we should 
subsume under these rules, that is, how we should distin- 
guish whether this or that did or did not stand under them, 
this again could not be done otherwise than by means of a 
rule. But this rule, precisely because it is a rule, requires 
for itself direction from the faculty of judgment. Thus, it 
is evident that the understanding is capable of being in- 
structed by rales, but that the judgment is a peculiar talent, 
which does not, and cannot require tuition, but only exer- 
cise. This faculty is therefore the specific quality of the 
so-called mother-wit, the want of which no scholastic disci- 
pline can compensate. For although education may furnish, 


and, as it were, ingraft upon a limited understanding rules 
borrowed from other minds, yet the power of employing 
these rules correctly must belong to the pupil himself; and 
no rule which we can prescribe to him with this purpose, 
is, in the absence or deficiency of this gift of nature, se- 
cure from misuse.' A physician therefore, a judge or a 
statesman, may have in his head many admirable patho- 
logical, juridical, or political rules, in a degree that may 
enable him to be a profound teacher in his particular sci- 
ence, and yet in the application of these rules he may very 
possibly blunder — either because he is wanting in natural 
judgment (though not in understanding), and while he can 
comprehend the general in abstracto, cannot distinguish 
whether a particular case in concreto ought to rank under 
the former; or because hia faculty of judgment has not been 
sufficiently exercised by examples and real practice. la- 
deed, the grand and only use of examples is to sharpen the 
judgment. For as regards the correctness and precision of 
the insight of the understanding, examples are commonly 
injurious rather than otherwise, because, as casus in terminis, 
they seldom adequately fulfil the conditions of the rule. Be- 
sides, they often weaken the power of our understanding to 
apprehend rules or laws in their universality, independently 
of particular circumstances of experience; and hence, accus- 
tom us to employ them more as formulse than as principles. 
Examples are thus the go-cart of the judgment, which he 
who is naturally deficient in that faculty cannot aflEord 
to dispense with. 

But although general logic cannot give directions to the 
faculty of judgment, the case is very different as regards 
transcendental logic, insomuch that it appears to be the 

> Deflciency in judgment is properly that which is called stupidity; and for 
such a failing we Imow no remedy. A dull or narrow-minded person, to whom 
nothing is wanting but a proper degree of understanding, may be improved by 
tuition, even so far as Co deserve the epithet of karned. But as such persons 
frequently labor under a deficiency in the faculty of judgment, it is not uncom- 
mon to find men extremely learned, who in the application of their science 
betray to a lamentable degree this irremediable want. 


especial duty of the latter to secure and direct, by means of 
determinate rules, the faculty of judgment in the employ- 
ment of the pure understanding, for, as a doctrine, that is, 
as an endeavor to enlarge the sphere of the understanding 
in regard to pure a priori cognitions, philosophy is worse 
than useless, since from all the attempts hitherto made little 
or no ground has been gained. But, as a critique, in order 
to guard against the mistakes of the faculty of judgment 
(lapsus judicii) in the employment of the few pure concep- 
tions of the understanding which we possess, although its 
use is in this case purely negative, philosophy is called upon 
to apply all its acuteness and penetration. 

But transcendental philosophy has this peculiarity, that 
besides indicating the rule, or rather the general condition 
for rules, which is given in the pure conception of the under- 
standing, it can, at the same time, indicate a priori the case 
to which the rule must be applied. The cause of the su- 
periority which, in this respect, transcendental philosophy 
possesses above all other sciences except mathematics, lies 
in this: — it treats of conceptions which m.ust relate a priori 
to their objects, whose objective validity consequently cannot 
be demonstrated a posteriori, and is, at the same time, under 
the obligation of presenting, in general but sufficient tests, 
the conditions under which objects can be given in harmony 
with those conceptions; otherwise they would be mere 
logical forms, without content, and not- pure conceptions 
of the understanding. 

Our transcendental doctrine of the faculty of judgment 
will contain two chapters. The first will treat of the sen- 
suous condition under which alone pure conceptions of the 
understanding can be employed — ^that is, of the schematism 
of the pure understanding. The second will treat of those 
synthetical judgments which are derived a priori from pure 
conceptions of the understanding under those conditions, 
and which lie a priori at the foundation of all other cogni- 
tions, that is to say, it will treat of the principles of the pure 





In all subsumptions of an object under a conception, the 
representation of the object must be homogeneous with 
the conception; in other words, the conception must contain 
that which is represented in the object to be subsumed under 
it. "For this is the meaning of the expression, An object is 
contained under a conception. Thus the empirical concep- 
tion of a plate is homogeneous with the pure geometrical 
conception of a circle, inasmuch as the roundness which is 
cogitated in the former is intuited in the latter. 

But pure conceptions of the understanding, when com- 
pared with empirical intuitions, or even with sensuous in- 
tuitions in general, are quite heterogeneous, and never can 
be discovered in any intuition. How then is the subsunip- 
Hon of the latter under the former, and consequently the 
application of the categories to phenomena, possible ? — For 
it is impossible to say, for example, Causality can be intuited 
through the senses, and is contained in the phenomenon. — 
This natural and important question forms the real cause 
of the necessity of a transcendental doctrine of the faculty of 
judgment, with the purpose, to wit, of showing how pure 
conceptions of the understanding can be applied to phe- 
nomena. In all other sciences, where the conceptions by 
which the object is thought in the general are not so different 
and heterogeneous from those which represent the object 
in concreto — as it is given, it is quite unnecessary to insti- 
tute any special inquiries concerning the application of 
the former to the latter. 

Now it is quite clear, that there must be some third 


thing, whioli on tlie one side is homogeneous with the cate- 
gory, and with the phenomenon on the other, and so makes 
the application of the former to the latter possible. This 
mediating representation must be pure (without any empiri- 
cal content), and yet must on the one side be intellectual, 
on the other sensuous. Such a representation is the traii- 
scendental schema. 

The conception of the understanding contains pure 
synthetical unity of the manifold in general. Time, as the 
formal condition of the manifold of the internal sense, con- 
sequently of the conjunction of all representations, contains 
a priori a manifold in the pure intuition. Now a tran- 
scendental determination of time is so far homogeneous with 
the category, which constitutes the unity thereof, that it is 
universal, and rests upon a rule a priori. On the other 
hand, it is so far homogeneous with the phenomenon, inas- 
much as time is contained in every empirical representation 
of the manifold. Thus an application of the category to 
phenomena becomes possible, by means of the transcendental 
determination of time, which, as the schema of the concep- 
tions of the understanding, mediates the subsumption of the 
latter under. the former. 

After what has been proved in our deduction of the 
categories, no one, it is to be hoped, can hesitate as to 
the proper decision of the question, whether the employment 
of these pure conceptions of the understanding ought to be 
merely empirical or also transcendental; in other words, 
whether the categories, as conditions of a possible experi- 
ence, relate a priori solely to phenomena, or whether, as 
conditions of the possibility of things in general, their appli- 
cation can be extended to objects as things in themselves. 
For we have there seen that conceptions are quite impossi- 
ble, and utterly without signification, unless either to them, 
or at least to the elements of which they consist, an object 
be given; and that, consequently, they cannot possibly 
apply to objects as things in themselves without regard to 
the question whether and how these may be given to us; 


and further, that the only manner in which objects can be 
given to us, is by means of the modification of oui sensi- 
bility; and finally, that pure a priori conceptions, in addi- 
tion to the function of the understanding in the category, 
must contain a priori formal conditions of sensibility (of the 
internal sense, namely), which again contain the general 
condition under which alone the category can be applied to 
any object. This formal and pure condition of sensibility, 
to which the conception of the understanding is restricted in 
its employment, we shall name the schema of the conception 
of the understanding, and the procedure of the understand- 
ing with these schemata, we shall call the Schematism of the 
pure understanding. 

The Schema is, in itself, always a mere product of 
the imagination.' But as the synthesis of imagination has 
for its aim no single intuition, but merely unity in the deter- 
mination of sensibility, the schema is clearly distinguishable 
from the image. Thus, if I place five points one after 

another, this is an image of the number five. On 

the other hand, if I only think a number in general, which 
may be either five or a hundred, this thought is rather the 
representation of a method of representing in an image a 
sum {e.g., a thousand) in conformity with a conception, than 
the image itself, an image which I should find some little 
difficulty in reviewing, and comparing with the conception. 
Now this representation of a general procedure of the 
imagination to present its image to a conception, I call 
the schema of this conception. 

In truth, it is not images of objects, but schemata, which 
lie at the foundation of our pure sensuous conceptions. No 
image could ever be adequate to our conception of a triangle 
in general. For the generalness of the conception it never 
could attain to, as this includes under itself all triangles, 
whether right-angled, acute-angled, etc., while the image 
would always be limited to a single part of this sphere. The 
schema of the triangle can exist nowhere else than in 
■ See note at page 1i. — Tr. 


t-hoTigiit, and it indicates a mile of the syntheais :of the 
imagdma-fcion in regard to pure figures in epace. Still less 
is an object of experience, or an image of the object, ever 
:adequate -fco the empirical conception. On the contrary, the 
conception always relates immediately to the schema of 
the imagination, as a rule for the determination of our intui- 
tion, an conformity with a certain general conception. The 
conception of a dog indicates a rule, according to which my 
imagination can delineate the figure of a four-footed animal 
in general, without being limited to any particular individual 
form which experience presents to me, or indeed to any pos- 
sible image that I can represent to myself in concreto. This 
schematism of our understanding in regard to phenomena 
and their mere form, is an art, hidden in the depths of the 
human soul, whose true modes of action we shall only with 
difficulty disooTer and unveil. Thus much only can we 
say: The image is a product of the empirical faculty of 
the productive imagination — ^the schema of sensuous concep- 
tions (of figures in space, for example) is a product, and, 
as it were, a monogram of the pure imagination a priori, 
whereby and according to which images first become possi- 
ble, which, however, can be connected with the conception 
only .mediaitely by means of the schema which they indicate, 
and are in themselves never fully adequate to it. On the 
other hand, the schema of a pure conception of the under- 
.Btanding is something that cannot be reduced into any image 
— it is nothing eke than the pure synthesis expressed by 
the category, conformably to a rule of unity according to 
conceptions. It is a transcendental product of the imagi- 
nation, a product which concerns the determination of the 
internal sense, according to conditions of its form (time) in 
respect to all representations, in so far as these representa- 
tions must be conjoined a priori in one conception, conform- 
ably to the unity of apperception. 

Without entering upon a dry and tedious analysis of 
the essential requisites of transcendental schemata of the 
pure conceptions of the understanding, we shall rather pro- 


ceed at once to give an explanation of them according to 
the order of the categories, and in connection therewith. 

For the external sense the pure image of all quantities 
(quaniorum) is space; the pure image of all objects of sense 
in general is time. But the pure schema of quantity {quan- 
titatis), as a conception of the understanding, is number, a 
representation which comprehends the successive addition 
of one to one (homogeneous quantities). Thus, number is 
nothing else than the unity of the synthesis of the manifold 
in a homogeneous intuition, by means of my generating time' 
itself in my apprehension of the intuition. 

Eeality, in the pure conception of the understanding, is 
that which corresponds to a sensation in general ; that, conse- 
quently, the conception of which indicates a being (in time). 
Negation is that the conception of which represents a not- 
being (in time). The opposition of these two consists there- 
fore in the difference of one and the same time, as a time 
filled or a time empty. Now as time is only the form of 
intuition, consequently of objects as phenomena, that which 
in objects corresponds to sensation is the transcendental 
matter of all objects as things in themselves {^Sachheit, 
reality). Now every sensation has a degree or quantity by 
which it can fill time, that is to say, the internal sense in 
respect of the representation of an object, more or less, until 
it vanishes into nothing {=0 = negaiio). Thus there is a 
relation and connection between reality and negation, or 
rather a transition from the former to the latter, which 
makes every reality representable to us as a quantum; and 
the schema of a reality as the quantity of something in so 
far as it fills time, is exactly this continuous and uniform 
generation of the reality in time, as we descend in time from 
the sensation which has a certain degree, down to the van- 
ishing thereof, or gradually ascend from negation to the 
quantity thereof. 

The schema of substance is the permanence of the real in 

• I generate time because I generate succession, namely, in the sucoessivs 
addition of one to one. — TV. 


time ; that is, tlie representation of it as a substratum of the 
empirical determination of time ; a substratum which there- 
fore remains, while all else changes. (Time passes not, but 
in it passes the existence of the changeable. To time, 
therefore, which is itself unchangeable and permanent, cor- 
responds that which in the phenomenon is unchangeable in 
existence, that is, substance, and it is only by it that the 
succession and coexistence of phenomena can be determined 
in regard to time.) 

The schema of cause and of the causality of a thing is the 
real which, when posited, is always followed by something 
else. It consists, therefore, in the succession of the mani- 
fold, in so far as that succession is subjected to a rule. 

The schema of community (reciprocity of action and re- 
action), or the reciprocal causality of substances in respect 
of their accidents, is the coexistence of the determina- 
tions of the one with those of the other, according to 
a general rule. 

The schema of possibility is the accordance of the syn- 
thesis of different representations with the conditions of time 
in general (as, for example, opposites cannot exist together 
at the same time in the same thing, but only after each 
other), and is therefore the determination of the represen- 
tation of a thing at any time. 

The schema of reality' is existence in a determined time. 

The schema of necessity is the existence of an object in 
all time. 

It is clear, from all this, that the schema of the category 
of quantity contains and represents the generation (synthesis) 
of time itself, in the successive apprehension of an object; 
the schema of quality the synthesis of sensation with the 
representation of time, or the filling up of time ; the schema 
of relation the relation of perceptions to each other in all 
time (that is, according to a rule of the determination 
of time): and finally, the schema of modality and its cate- 

' WirUichkeit. In the table Qf categories it is called Existence (Daseyn). 


gories, time itself, as the correlative of the determination of 
an object — whether it does belong to time, and how. The 
schemata, therefore, are nothing but a priori determinations 
of time according to rules, and these, in regard to all possible 
objects, following the arrangement of the categories, relate 
to the series in time, the content in time, the order in time, and 
finally, to the complex or totality in time. 

Hence it is apparent that the schematism of the under- 
standing, by means of the transcendental synthesis of the 
imagination, amounts to nothing else than the unity of 
the manifold of intuition in the internal sense, and thus 
indirectly to the unity of apperception, as a function corre- 
sponding to the internal sense (a receptivity). Thus, the 
schemata of the pure conceptions of the understanding are 
the true and only conditions whereby our understanding 
receives an application to objects, and consequently signifi- 
cance. Finally, therefore, the categories are only capable 
of empirical use, inasmuch as they serve merely to subject 
phenomena to the universal rules of synthesis, by means of 
an a priori necessary unity (on account of the necessary union 
of all consciousness in one original apperception); and so 
to render them susceptible of a complete connection in one 
experience. But within this whole of possible experience 
lie all our cognitions, and in the universal relation to this 
experience consists transcendental truth, which antecedes ail 
empirical truth, and renders the latter possible. 

It is, however, evident at first sight, that although the 
schemata of sensibility are the sole agents in realizing 
the categories, they do, nevertheless, also restrict them, that 
is, they limit the categories by conditions which lie beyond 
the sphere of understanding — namely, in sensibility. Hence 
the schema is properly only the phenomenon, or the sensu- 
ous conception of an object in harmony with the category. 
{Humerus est quantitas phenomenon* — sensatio realitas phe- 
nomenon ; constans et perdurabile rerum substantia phenom- 
enon — cBternitas, necessHas, phenomena, etc.) Now, if w« 
• Phenomenon is here an adjective. — J\r, 


remove a restrictive condition, we thereby amplify, it ap- 
pears, the formerly limited conception. In this way, the 
categories in their pure signification, free from all conditions 
of sensibility, ought to be valid of things as they are, and 
not, as the schemata represent them, merely as they appear, 
and consequently the categories must have a significance far 
more extended, and wholly independent of all schemata. 
In truth, there does always remain to the pure conceptions 
of the understanding, after abstracting every sensuous con- 
dition, a value and significance, which is, however, merely 
logical. But in this case, no object is given them, and 
therefore they have no meaning sufficient to afford us a con- 
ception of an object. The notion of substance, for example, 
if we leave out the sensuous determination of permanence, 
would mean nothing more than a something which can be 
cogitated as subject, without the possibility of becoming a 
predicate to anything else. Of this representation I can 
make nothing, inasmuch as it does not indicate to me what 
determinations the thing possesses which must thus be valid 
as premier subject. Consequently, the categories, without 
schemata, are merely functions of the understanding for the 
production of conceptions, but do not represent any object. 
This significance they derive from sensibility, which at 
the same time realizes the understanding and restricts it. 




In the foregoing chapter we have merely considered the 
general conditions under which alone the transcendental 
faculty of judgment is justified in using the pure concep- 
tions of the understanding for synthetical judgments. Our 
duty at present is to exhibit in systematic connection those 


judgments which the understanding really produces a priori. 
For this purpose, our table of the categories will certainly 
afford us the natural and safe guidance. For it is precisely 
the categories whose application to possible experience must 
constitute all pure a priori cognition of the understanding; 
and the relation of which to sensibility will, on that very 
account, present us with a complete and systematic cata- 
logue of all the transcendental principles of the use of the 

Principles a priori are so called, not merely because they 
contain in themselves the grounds of other judgments, but 
also because they themselves are not grounded in higher 
and more general cognitions. This peculiarity, however, 
does not raise them altogether above the need of a proof. 
For although there could be found no higher cognition, and 
therefore no objective proof, and although such a principle 
rather serves as the foundation for all cognition of the ob- 
ject, this by no means hinders us from drawing a proof from 
the subjective sources of the possibility of the cognition of 
an object. Such a proof is necessary moreover, because 
without it the principle might be liable to the imputation 
of being a mere gratuitous assertion. 

In the second place, we shall limit our investigations to 
those principles which relate to the categories. For as to the 
principles of transcendental sesthetic, according to which 
space and time are the conditions of the possibility of things 
as phenomena, as also the restriction of these principles, 
namely, that they cannot be applied to objects as things in 
themselves; — these, of course, do not fall within the scope 
of our present inquiry. In like manner, the principles of 
mathematical science form no part of this system, because 
they are all drawn from intuition, and not from the pure 
conception of the understanding. The possibility of these 
principles, however, will necessarily be considered here, 
inasmuch as they are synthetical judgments a priori not 
indeed for the purpose of proving their accuracy and apodic- 
tic certainty, which is unnecessary, but merely to render 


conceivable and deduce the possibility of such evident 
d priori cognitions. 

But we shall have also to speak of the principle of ana- 
lytical judgments, in opposition to synthetical judgments, 
which is the pToper subject of our inquiries, because this 
very opposition will free the theory of the latter from all 
ambiguity, and place it clearly before our eyes in its true 

System of the Principles op the Pure Understanding 

Of the Supreme Principle of all Analytical Judgments 

Whatever may be the content of our cognition, and in 
whatever manner our cognition may be related to its object, 
the universal, although only negative condition of all our 
judgments is that they do not contradict themselves; other- 
wise these judgments are in themselves (even without re- 
spect to the object) nothing. But although there may exist 
no contradiction in our judgment, it may nevertheless con- 
nect conceptions in such a manner that they do not corre- 
spond to the object, or without any grounds either a priori 
or a posteriori for arriving at such a judgment, and thus, 
without being self -contradictory, a judgment may neverthe- 
less be either false or groundless. 

Now, the proposition, "No subject can have a predicate 
that contradicts it," is called the principle of contradiction, 
and is a universal but purely negative criterion of all truth. 
But it belongs to logic alone, because it is valid of cog- 
nitions, merely as cognitions, and without respect to their 
content, and declares that the contradiction entirely nullifies 
them. We can also, however, make a positive use of this 
principle, that is, not merely to banish falsehood and error 
(in so far as it rests upon contradiction), but also for the 
cognition of truth. For if the judgment is analytical, be it 
affirmative or negative, its truth must always be recogniz- 
able by means of the principle of contradiction. For the 


contrary of that which lies and. is cogitated as conception 
in the cognition of the object will be always properly nega- 
tived, but the conception itself must always be affirmed 
of the object, inasmuch as the contrary thereof would be 
in contradiction to the object. 

We must therefore hold the principle of contradiction to 
be the universal and fully sufficient principle of all analytical 
cognition. But as a sufficient criterion of truth, it has no 
further utility or authority. For the fact that no cognition 
can be at variance with this principle without nullifying 
itself, constitutes this principle the sine qua non, but not 
the determining ground of the truth of our cognition. As 
our business at present is properly with the synthetical part 
of our knowledge only, we shall always be on our guard not 
to transgress this inviolable principle; but at the same time 
not to expect from it any direct assistance in the establish- 
ment of the truth of any synthetical proposition. 

There exists, however, a formula of this celebrated prin- 
ciple — a principle merely formal and entirely without con- 
tent — which contains a synthesis that has been inadvertently 
and quite unnecessarily mixed up with it. It is this: "It 
is impossible for a thing to be and not to be at the same 
time." Not to mention the superfluousness of the addition 
of the word impossible to indicate the apodictic certainty, 
which ought to be self-evident from the proposition itself, 
the proposition is affected by the condition of time, and as 
it were says: "A thing=J., which is something=^, cannot 
at the same time be non-B." But both, B as well as non-B, 
may quite well exist in succession. For example, a man who 
is young cannot at the same time be old; but the same man 
can very well be at one time young, and at another not 
young, that is, old. Now the principle of contradiction as 
a merely logical proposition must not by any means limit 
its application merely to relations of time, and consequently 
a formula like the preceding is quite foreign to its true pur- 
pose. The misunderstanding arises in this way. We first 
of all separate a predicate of a thing from the conception 


of the thing, and afterward connect with this predicate its 
opposite, and hence do not establish any contradiction with 
the subject, but only with its predicate, which has been 
conjoined with the subject synthetically — a contradiction, 
moreover, which obtains only when the first and second 
predicate are affirmed in the same time. If I say: "A man 
who is ignorant is not learned," the condition "at the same 
time" must be added, for he who is at one time ignorant, 
may at another be learned. But if I say: "No ignorant 
man is a learned man," the proposition is analytical, be- 
cause the characteristic ignorance is now a constituent part 
of the conception of the subject; and in this case the nega- 
tive proposition is evident immediately from the proposition 
of contradiction, without the necessity of adding the condi- 
tion "at the same time." — This is the reason why I have 
altered the formula of this principle — an alteration which 
shows very clearly the nature of an analytical proposition. 

System of the Peinciples of the Pure Undeestanding 
section second 

Of the Supreme Principle of all Synthetical Judgments 

The explanation of the possibility of synthetical judg- 
ments is a task with which general Logic has nothing to 
do ; indeed she need not even be acquainted with its name. 
But in transcendental Logic it is the most important matter 
to be dealt with — ^indeed the only one, if the question is of 
the possibility of synthetical judgments a priori, the condi- 
tions and extent of their validity. For when this question 
is fully decided, it can reach its aim with perfect ease, the 
determination, to wit, of the extent and limits of the pure 

In an analytical judgment I do not go beyond the given 
conception, in order to arrive at some decision respecting it. 
If the judgment is affirmative, I predicate of the conception 
only that which was already cogitated in it; if negative, I 
merely exclude from the conception its contrary. But in 



synthetical judgments, I must go beyond the given concep- 
tion, in order to cogitate, in relation with it, something quite 
different from that which was cogitated in it, a relation which 
is consequently never one either of identity or contradiction, 
and by means of which the truth or error of the judgment 
cannot be discerned merely from the judgment itself. 

Granted, then, that we must go out beyond a given con- 
ception, in order to compare it synthetically with another, a 
third thing is necessary, in which alone the synthesis of two 
conceptions can originate. Now what is this tertium quid, 
that is to be the medium of all synthetical judgments ? It 
is only a complex,' in which all our representations are con- 
tained, the internal sense to wit, and its form a priori, Time. 

The synthesis of our representations rests upon the imag- 
ination; their synthetical unity (which is requisite to a judg- 
ment), upon the unity of apperception. In this, therefore, 
is to be sought the possibility of synthetical judgments, and 
as all three contain the sources of a priori representations, 
the possibility of pure synthetical judgments also; nay, they 
are necessary upon these grounds, if we are to possess a 
knowledge of objects, which rests solely upon the synthesis 
of representations. 

If a cognition is to have objective reality, that is, to relate 
to an object, and possess sense and meaning in respect to it, 
it is necessary that the object be given in some way or an- 
other. Without this, our conceptions are empty, and we 
may indeed have thought by means of them, but by such 
thinking we have not, in fact, cognized anything, we have 
merely played with representation. To give an object, if 
this expression be understood in the sense of to present the 
object, not mediately but immediately in intuition, means 
nothing else than to apply the representation of it to expe- 
rience, be that experience real or only possible. Space and 
time themselves, pure as these conceptions are from all that 
is empirical, and certain as it is that they are represented 
fully a priori in the mind, would be completely without ob- 

' InbegrifE. 


jectlte validity, and without sense and significance, if their 
necessary use in the objects of experience were not shown 
Nay, the representation of them is a mere schema, that al- 
ways relates to the reproductive imagination, which calls up 
the objects of experience, without which they have no mean- 
ing. And so is it with all conceptions without distinction. 

The possibility of experience is, then, that which gives 
objective reality to all oar a priori cognitions. Now ex- 
perience depends upon the synthetical unity of phenomena, 
that is, upon a synthesis according to conceptions of the 
object of phenomena in general, a synthesis without which 
experience never could become knowledge, but would be 
merely a rhapsody of perceptions, never fitting together into 
any connected text, according to rules of a thoroughly united 
(possible) consciousness, and therefore never subjected to the 
transcendental and necessary unity of apperception. Expe- 
rience has therefore, for a foundation, a priori principles of 
its form, that is to say, general rules of unity in the synthe- 
sis of phenomena, the objective reality of which rules, as 
necessary conditions — even of the possibility of experience 
— can always be shown in experience. But apart from this 
relation, a priori synthetical propositions are absolutely im- 
possible, because they have no third term, that is, no pure 
object, in which the synthetical unity can exhibit the objec- 
tive reality of its conceptions. 

Although, then, respecting space, or the forms which 
productive imagination describes therein, we do cognize 
much a priori in synthetical judgments, and are really in 
no need of experience for this purpose, such knowledge 
would nevertheless amount to nothing but a busy trifling 
with a mere chimera, were not space to be considered as the 
«jondition of the phenomena which constitute the material of 
external experience. Hence those pure synthetical judg- 
ments do relate, though but mediately, to possible experi- 
ence, or rather to the possibility of experience, and upon that 
alone is founded the objective validity of their synthesis. 

While then, on the one hand, experience, as empirical 


synthesis, is the only possible mode of cognition which gives 
reality to all other synthesis;' on the other hand, this latter 
synthesis, as cognition a priori, possesses truth, that is, ac- 
cordance with its object, only in so far as it contains noth- 
ing more than what is necessary to the synthetical unity of 

Accordingly, the supreme principle of all synthetical 
judgments is: Every object is subject to the necessary con- 
ditions of the synthetical unity of the manifold of intuition 
in a possible experience. 

A priori synthetical judgments are possible, when we 
apply the formal conditions of the a priori intuition, the 
synthesis of the imagination, and the necessary unity of that 
synthesis in a transcendental apperception, to a possible cog- 
nition of experience, and say : The conditions of the possibil- 
ity of experience in general, are at the same time conditions 
of the possibility of the objects of experience, and have, for 
that reason, objective validity in an a priori synthetical 

System of the Principles of the Pure Understanding 

section tsird 
Systematic Representation of all Synthetical Principles thereof 

That principles exist at all is to be ascribed solely to the 
pure understanding, which is not only the faculty of rules 
in regard to that which happens, but is even the source of 
principles according to which everything that can be pre- 
sented to us as an object is necessarily subject to rules, be- 
cause without such rules we never could attain to cognition 
of an object. Even the laws of nature, if they are contem- 
plated as principles of the empirical use of the understand- 
ing, possess also a characteristic of necessity, and we may 
therefore at least expect them to be determined upon grounds 
which are valid a priori and antecedent to all experience. 
But all laws of nature, without distinction, are subject to 
' Mental synthesis. — Fr. 


higher principles of the understanding, inasmuch as the for- 
mer are merely applications of the latter to particular cases 
of experience. These higher principles alone therefore give 
the conception, which contains the necessary condition, and, 
as it were, the exponent of a rule; experience, on the other ; 
hand, gives the case which comes under the rule. 

There is no danger of our mistaking merely empirical 
principles for principles of the pure understanding, or con- 
versely; for the character of necessity, according to concep- 
tions, which distinguishes the latter, and the absence of this 
in every empirical proposition, how extensively valid soever 
it may be, is a perfect safeguard against confounding them. 
There are, however, pure principles a priori, which never- 
theless I should not ascrihe to the pure understanding — for 
this reason, that they are not derived from pure conceptions, 
but (although by the mediation of the understanding) from 
pure intuitions. But understanding is the faculty of con- 
ceptions. Such principles mathematical * science possesses, 
but their application to experience, consequently their ob- 
jective validity, nay the possibility of such a priori synthet- 
ical cognitions (the deduction thereof), rests entirely upon 
the pure understanding. 

On this account, I shall not reckon among my principles 
those of mathematics; though I shall include those upon the 
possibility and objective validity a priori, of principles of 
the mathematical science, which, consequently, are to be 
looked upon as the principle of these, and which proceed 
from conceptions to intuition, and not from intuition to 

In the application of the pure conceptions of the under- 
standing to possible experience, the employment of their 
synthesis is either mathematical or dynamical, for it is 
directed partly on the intuition alone, partly on the existence 
of a phenomenon. But the a priori conditions of intuition 
are in relation to a possible experience absolutely necessary, 
those of the existence of objects of a possible empirical 
intuition are in themselves contingent. Hence the princi- 


pies of the mathematical use of the categories will possess a 
character of absolute necessity, that is, will be apodictic; 
those, on the other hand, of the dynamical use, the character 
of an a priori necessity indeed, but only under the condition 
of empirical thought in an experience, therefore only medi- 
ately and indirectly. Consequently they will not possess 
that immediate evidence which is peculiar to the former, 
although their application to experience does not, for that 
reason, lose its truth and certitude. But of this point we 
shall be better able to judge at the conclusion of this system 
of principles. 

The table of the categories is naturally our guide to the 
table of principles, because these are nothing else than rules 
for the objective employment of the former. Accordingly, 
all principles of the pure understanding are — 


Axioms of 


2 3 

Anticipations Analogies 

of of 

Perception. Experience. 


Postulates of 

Empirical Thought 

in general. 

These appellations I have chosen advisedly, in order that 
we might not lose sight of the distinctions in respect of the 
evidence and the employment of these principles. It will, 
however, soon appear that — a fact which concerns both the 
evidence of these principles, and the a priori determination 
of phenomena — according to the categories of Quantity and 
Quality (if we attend merely to the form of these), the prin- 
ciples of these categories are distinguishable from those of 
the two others, inasmuch as the former are possessed of an 
intuitive, but the latter of a merely discursive, though in 
both instances a complete certitude. 1 shall therefore call 


the former mathematical,' and the latter dynamicaZ princi- 
ples.' It must be observed, however, that by these terms 
I mean, just as little in the one case the principles of mathe- 
matics, as those of general (physical) dynamics, in the other. 
I have here in view merely the principles of the pure under- 
standing, in their application to the internal sense (without 
distinction of the representations given therein), by means 
of which the sciences of mathematics and dynamics become 
possible. Accordingly, I have named these principles rather 
with reference to their application, than their content; and 
I shall now proceed to consider them in the order in which 
they stand in the table. 

I — Axioms of Intuition 

The principle of these is, "J.ZZ Intuitions are Extensive 
Quantities. ' ' 


All phenomena contain, as regards their form, an intui- 
tion in space and time, which lies d priori at the foundation 
of all without exception. Phenomena, therefore, cannot be 
apprehended, that is, received into empirical consciousness, 
otherwise than through the synthesis of a manifold, through 
■which the representations of a determinate space or time are 
generated; that is to say, through the composition of the 

y, in the Kantian sense. — Tr. 
' All combi/nation (conjunctio) is either composition (composiiio) or connection 
(nexus). The former is the synthesis of a manifold, the parts of which do not 
necessarily belong to each other. For example, the two triangles into which a 
square Is divided by a diagonal, do not necessarily belong to each other, and of 
this kind is the synthesis of the homogeneous in everything that can be mathe- 
maticaUy considered. This synthesis can be divided into those of aggregation 
■and coalition, the former of which is applied to extensive, the latter to inteTisive 
quantities. The second sort of combination {nexus) is the synthesis of a mani- 
fold, in so far as its parts do belong necessarily to each other ; for example, the 
accident to a substance, or the effect to the cause. Consequently it is a syn- 
thesis of that which, though heterogeneous, is represented as connected, a priori. 
This combination — not an arbitrary one— I entitle d/ynamical, because it con- 
cerns the connection of the existence of the manifold. This, again, may be 
divided into the physical synthesis of the phenomena among each other, and 
the metaphysical synthesis, or the connection of phenomena a priori in the 
faculty of cognition. 


homogeneous, and the consciousness of the synthetical unity 
of this manifold (homogeneous). Now the consciousness of 
a homogeneous manifold in intuition, in so far as thereby 
the representation of an object is rendered possible, is the 
conception of a quantity {quanti). Consequently, even the 
perception of an object as phenomenon is possible only 
through the same synthetical unity of the manifold of 
the given sensuous intuition, through which the unity 
of the composition of the homogeneous manifold in the 
conception of a quantity is cogitated; that is to say, all phe- 
nomena are qaantities, and extensive quantities, because, as 
intuitions in space or time, they must be represented by 
means of the same synthesis, through which space and time 
themselves are determined. 

An extensive quantity I call that wherein the representa- 
tion of the parts renders possible (and therefore necessarily 
antecedes) the representation of the whole. I cannot repre- 
sent to myself any line, however small, without drawing it 
in thought, that is, without generating from a point all its 
parts one after another, and in this way alone producing this 
intuition. Precisely the same is the case with every, even 
the smallest, portion of time. I cogitate therein only the 
successive progress from one moment to another, and hence, 
by means of the different portions of time and the addition 
of them, a determinate quantity of time is produced. As 
the pure intuition in all phenomena is either time or space, 
so is every phenomenon in its character of intuition an ex- 
tensive quantity, inasmuch as it can only be cognized in our 
apprehension by successive synthesis (from part to part). 
All phenomena are, accordingly, to be considered as aggre- 
gates, that is, as a collection of previously given parts; 
which is not the case with every sort of quantities, but only 
with those which are represented and apprehended by us 
as extensive. 

On this successive synthesis of the productive imagina- 
tion, in the generation of figures, is founded the mathematics 
of extension, or geometry, with its axioms, which express 


the conditions of sensuous intuition a priori, under which 
alone the schema of a pure conception of external intuition 
can exist; for example, "between two points only one 
straight line is possible," "two straight lines cannot inclose 
a space," etc. These are the axioms which properly relate 
only to quantities {quanta) as such. 

But, as regards the quantity of a thing (^quaniitas), that 
is to say, the answer to the question. How large is this or 
that object? although, in respect to this question, we have 
various propositions synthetical and immediately certain 
(indemonstrabilia); we have, in the proper sense of the term, 
no axioms. For example, the propositions, "If equals be 
added to equals, the wholes are equal" ; "If equals be taken 
from equals, the remainders are equal"; are analytical, 
because I am immediately conscious of the identity of the 
production of the one quantity with the production of 
the other; whereas axioms must be a priori synthetical 
propositions. On the other hand, the self-evident proposi- 
tions as to the relation of numbers, are certainly synthetical, 
but not universal, like those of geometry, and for this reason 
cannot be called axioms, but numerical formulae. That 
7+5=12, is not an analytical proposition. For neither in 
the representation of seven, nor of five, nor of the composi- 
tion of the two numbers, do I cogitate the number twelve. 
(Whether I cogitate the number in the addition, of both, is 
not at present the question ; for in the case of an analytical 
proposition, the only point is, whether I really cogitate the 
predicate in the representation of the subject.) But although 
the proposition is synthetical, it is nevertheless only a singu- 
lar proposition. In so far as regard is here had merely to 
the synthesis of the homogeneous (the units), it cannot take 
place except in one manner, although our use of these num- 
bers is afterward general. If I say, "A triangle can be con- 
structed with three lines, any two of which taken together 
are greater than the third," I exercise merely the pure func- 
tion of the productive imagination, which may draw the lines 
longer or shorter, and construct the angles at its pleasure. 


On the contrary, the number seven is possible only in one 
manner, and so is likewise the number twelve, which results 
from the synthesis of seven and five. Such propositions, 
then, cannot be termed axioms (for in that ease we should 
have an infinity of these), but numerical formulae. 

This transcendental principle of the mathematics of phe- 
nomena greatly enlarges our a priori cognition. For it is 
by this principle alone that pure mathematics is rendered 
applicable in all its precision to objects of experience, and 
without it the validity of this application would not be so 
self-evident; on the contrary, contradictions and confusions 
have often arisen on this very point. Phenomena are not 
things in themselves. Empirical intuition is possible only 
through pure intuition (of space and time); consequently, 
what geometry affirms of the latter is indisputably valid of 
the former. All evasions, such as the statement that objects 
of sense do not conform to the rules of construction in space 
(for example, to the rule of the infinite divisibility of lines 
or angles), must fall to the ground. For, if these objections 
hold good, we deny to space, and with it to all mathematics, 
objective validity, and no longer know wherefore, and how 
far, mathematics can be applied to phenomena. The syn- 
thesis of spaces and times as the essential form of all intui- 
tion, is that which renders possible the apprehension of a 
phenomenon, and therefore every external experience, con- 
sequently all cognition of the objects of experience; and 
whatever mathematics in its pure use proves of the former 
must necessarily hold good of the latter. All objections 
are but the chicaneries of an ill-instructed reason, which 
erroneously thinks to liberate the objects of sense from the 
formal conditions of our sensibility, and represents these, 
although mere phenomena, as things in themselves, pre- 
sented as such to our understandings. But in this case, no 
a priori synthetical cognition of them could be possible, 
consequently not through pure conceptions of space, and 
the science which determines these conceptions, that is to 
say, geometry, would itself be impossible. 


n — Anticipations of Perception 
The principle of these is, "in all phenomena the Real, 
Aat which is an object of sensation, has Intensive Quantity, 
thai is, has a Degree.^' 


Perception is empirical consciousness, that is to say, a 
consciousness, which contains an element of sensation. 
Phenomena as objects of perception are not pure, that is, 
merely formal intuitions, like space and time, for they can- 
not be perceived in themselves." They contain, then, over 
and above the intuition, the materials for an object (through 
which is represented something existing in space or time), 
that is to say, they contain the real of sensation, as a repre- 
sentation merely subjective, which gives us merely the con- 
sciousness that the subject is affected, and which we refer 
to some external object. Now, a gradual transition from 
empirical consciousness to pure consciousness is possible, in- 
asmuch as the real in this consciousness entirely evanishes, 
and there remains a merely formal consciousness {a priori) 
of the manifold in time and space; consequently there is 
possible a synthesis also of the production of the quantity of 
a sensation from its commencement, that is, from the pure 
intuition — onward, up to a certain quantity of the sensa- 
tion. Now as sensation in itself is not an objective repre- 
sentation, and in it is to be found neither the intuition of 
space nor of time, it cannot possess any extensive quantity, 
and yet there does belong to it a quantity (and that by 
means of its apprehension, in which empirical consciousness 
can within a certain time rise from nothing = up to its 
given amount), consequently an intensive quantity. And 
thus we must ascribe intensive quantity, that is, a degree of 
influence on sense to all objects of perception, in so far as 
this perception contains sensation. 

■ They can be perceived only as phenomena, and some part of them must 
always belong to the non-ego; whereas pure intuitions are entirely the products 
of the mind itself, and as such are cognized in themselves. — 2V. 


All cognition, by means of which I am enabled to cog- 
nize and determine a priori what belongs to empirical 
cognition, may be called an Anticipation; and without 
doubt this is the sense in which Epicurus employed his ex- 
pression TtpoXrjtpt^. But as there is in phenomena something 
which is never cognized a priori, which on this account 
constitutes the proper difference between pure and empirical 
cognition, that is to say, sensation (as the matter of percep- 
tion), it follows, that sensation is just that element in cogni- 
tion which cannot be at all anticipated. On the other hand, 
we might very well term the pure determinations in space 
and time, as well in regard to figure as to Quantity, antici- 
pations of phenomena, because they represent d priori that 
which may always be given d posteriori in experience. But 
suppose that in every sensation, as sensation in general, 
without any particular sensation being thought of, there 
existed something which could be cognized a priori, this 
would deserve to be called anticipation in a special sense — 
special, because it may seem surprising to forestall experi- 
ence, in that which concerns the matter of experience, and 
which we can only derive from itself. Yet such really is 
the case here. 

Apprehension,' by means of sensation alone, fills only 
one moment, that is, if I do not take into consideration a 
succession of many sensations. As that in the phenomenon, 
the apprehension of which is not a successive synthesis ad- 
vancing from parts to an entire representation, sensation has 
therefore no extensive quantity ; the want of sensation in a 
moment of time would represent it as empty, consequently 
^ 0. That which in the empirical intuition corresponds to 
sensation is reality (realitas phenomenon); that which corre- 
sponds to the absence of it, negation = 0. Now every sen- 
sation is capable of a diminution, so that it can decrease, and 
thus gradually disappear. Therefore, between reality in a 

' Apprehension is the Kantian word for perception, in the largeet sense in 
which we employ that term. It is the genus which includes under it, as species, 
perception proper and sensation proper. — 2V. 


phenomenon and negation, there exists a continuous con- 
catenation of many possible intermediate sensations, the 
difference of which from each other is always smaller than 
that between the given sensation and zero, or complete 
negation. That is to say, the real in a phenomenon has 
always a quantity, which, however, is not discoverable in 
Apprehension, inasmuch as Apprehension takes place by 
means of mere sensation in one instant, and not by the suc- 
cessive synthesis of many sensations, and therefore does not 
progress from parts to the whole. Consequently, it has a 
quantity, bat not an extensive quantity. 

Now that quantity which is apprehended only as unity, 
and in which plurality can be represented only by approxi- 
mation to negation. = 0, I term intensive quantity. Conse- 
quently, reality in a phenomenon has intensive quantity, 
that is, a degree. If we consider this reality as cause (be it 
of sensation or of another reality in the phenomenon, for 
example, a change), we call the degree of reality in its 
character of cause a momentum, for example, the momentum 
of weight; and for this reason, that the degree only indicates 
that quantity the apprehension of which is not successive, 
but instantaneous. This, however, I touch upon only in 
passing, for with Causality I have at present nothing to do. 

Accordingly, every sensation, consequently every reality 
in phenomena, however small it may be, has a degree, that 
is, an intensive quantity, which may always be lessened, 
and between reality and negation there exists a continuous 
connection of possible realities, and possible smaller percep- 
tions. Every color — for example, red — has a degree, which, 
be it ever so staall, is never the smallest, and so is it always 
with heat, the momentum of weight, etc. 

This property of quantities, according to which no part 
of them is the smallest possible (no part simple"), is called 
their continuity. Space and time are quanta continua, be- 
cause no part of them can be given, without inclosing it 
within boundaries (points and moments), consequently, this 

' Simplex. — JV. 


given part is itself a space or a time. Space, therefore, con- 
sists only of spaces, and time of times. Points and moments 
are only boundaries, that is, the mere places or positions of 
their limitation. But places always presuppose intuitions 
which are to limit or determine them; and we cannot con- 
ceive either space or time composed of constituent parts 
which are given before space or time. Such quantities may 
also be called ^omw^', because the synthesis (of the produc- 
tive imagination) in the production of these Quantities is a 
progression in time, the continuity of which we are accus- 
tomed to indicate by the expression flowing. 

All phenomena, then, are continuous quantities, in re- 
spect both to intuition and mere perception (sensation, and 
with it reality). In the former case they are extensive 
quantities; in the latter, intensive. When the synthesis of 
the manifold of a phenomenon is interrupted, there results 
merely an aggregate of several phenomena, and not properly 
a phenomenon as a quantity, which is not produced by the 
mere continuation of the productive synthesis of a certain 
kind, but by the repetition of a synthesis always ceasing. 
For example, if I call thirteen dollars a sum or quantity of 
money, I employ the term quite correctly, inasmuch as I 
understand by thirteen dollars the value of a mark in 
standard silver, which is, to be sure, a continuous quantity, 
in which no part is the smallest, but every part might con- 
stitute a piece of money, which would contain material for 
still smaller pieces. If, however, by the words thirteen 
dollars I understand so many coins (be their value in silver 
what it may), it would be quite erroneous to use the expres- 
sion a quantity of dollars ; on the contrary, I must call them 
aggregate, that is, a number of coins. And as in every 
number we must have unity as the foundation, so a phe- 
nomenon taken as unity is a quantity, and as such always 
a continuous quantity (quantum continuum). 

Now, seeing all phenomena, whether considered as exten- 
sive or intensive, are continuous quantities, the proposition, 
"All change (transition of a thing from one state into an- 


other) is continuous," might be proved here easily, and with 
mathematical evidence, were it not that the causality of a 
change lies entirely beyond the bounds of a transcendental 
philosophy, and presupposes empirical principles. For of 
the possibility of a cause which changes the condition 
of things, that is, which determines them to the contrary of 
a certain given state, the understanding gives us a priori 
no knowledge; not merely because it has no insight into the 
possibility of it (for such insight is absent in several a 
priori cognitions), but because the notion of change concerns 
only certain determinations of phenomena, which experience 
alone can acquaint us with, while their cause lies in the 
unchangeable. But seeing that we have nothing which we 
could here employ but the pure fundamental conceptions 
of all possible experience, among which of course nothing 
empirical can be admitted, we dare not, without injuring 
the unity of our system, anticipate general physical science, 
which is built upon certain fundamental experiences. 

Nevertheless, we are in no want of proofs of the great 
influence which the principle above developed exercises in 
the anticipation of perceptions, and even in supplying the 
want of them, so far as to shield us against the false con- 
clusions which otherwise we might rashly draw. 

If all reality in perception has a degree, between which 
and negation there is an endless sequence of ever smaller 
degrees, and if nevertheless every sense must have a deter- 
minate degree of receptivity for sensations; no perception, 
and consequently no experience is possible, which can prove, 
either immediately or mediately, an entire absence of all re- 
ality in a phenomenon ; in other words, it is impossible ever 
to draw from experience a proof of the existence of empty 
space or of empty time. For in the first place, an entire 
absence of reality in a sensuous intuition cannot of course 
be an object of perception; secondly, such absence cannot be 
deduced from the contemplation of any single phenomenon, 
and the difEerence of the degrees in its reality; nor ought 
it ever to be admitted in explanation of any phenomenon. 


For if even the complete intuition of a determinate space or 
time is thoroughly real, that is, if no part thereof is empty, 
yet because every reality has its degree, which, with the ex- 
tensive quantity of the phenomenon unchanged, can dimin- 
ish through endless gradations down to nothing (the void), 
there must be infinitely graduated degrees, with which space 
or time is filled, and the intensive quantity in different phe- 
nomena may be smaller or greater, although the extensive 
quantity of the intuition remains equal and unaltered. 

We shall give an example of this. Almost all natural phi- 
losophers, remarking a great difference in the quantity of the 
matter' of diflEerent kinds in bodies with the same volume 
(partly on account of the momentum of gravity or weight, 
partly on account of the momentum of resistance to other 
bodies in motion), conclude unanimously, that this volume 
(extensive quantity of the phenomenon) must be void in all 
bodies, although in diflEerent proportion. But who would sus- 
pect that these for the most part mathematical and mechanical 
inquirers into nature should ground this conclusion solely on 
a metaphysical hypothesis — a sort of hypothesis which they 
profess to disparage and avoid ? Yet this they do, in as- 
suming that the real in space (I must not here call it impen- 
etrability or weight, because these are empirical conceptions) 
is always identical, and can only be distinguished according 
to its extensive quantity, that is, multiplicity. Now to this 
presupposition, for which they can have no ground in expe- 
rience, and which consequently is merely metaphysical, I 
oppose a transcendental demonstration, which it is true will 
not explain the diflEerence in the filling up of spaces, but 
which nevertheless completely does away with the supposed 
necessity of the above-mentioned presupposition that we can- 
not explain the said diflEerence otherwise than by the hypoth- 
esis of empty spaces. This demonstration, moreover, has the 
merit of setting the understanding at liberty to conceive this 
distinction in a diflEerent manner, if the explanation of tho 

• It should be remembered that Kant means, by matter, that which in tho 
object corresponds to sensation in the subject — the real in a phenomenon. — TV". 


fact requires any such hypothesis. For we perceive that 
although two equal spaces may be completely filled by mat- 
ters altogether different, so that in neither of them is there 
left a single point wherein matter is not present, neverthe- 
less, every reality has its degree (of resistance or of weight), 
which, without diminution of the extensive quantity, can 
b<5come less and less ad infinitum, before it passes into noth- 
ingness and disappears. Thus an expansion which fills a 
space — for example, caloric, or any other reality in the phe- 
nomenal world — can decrease in its degrees to infinity, yet 
without leaving the smallest part of the space empty; on the 
contrary, filling it with those lesser degrees, as completely as 
another phenomenon could with greater. My intention here 
is by no means to maintain that this is really the case with 
the difference of matters, in regard to their specific gravity; 
I wish only to prove, from a principle of the pure under- 
standing, that the nature of our perceptions makes such a 
mode of explanation possible, and that it is erroneous to 
regard the real in a phenomenon as equal quoad its degree, 
and different only quoad its aggregation and extensive quan- 
tity, and this, too, on the pretended authority of an a priori 
principle of the understanding. 

Nevertheless, this principle of the anticipation of.percep- 
tion must somewhat startle an inquirer whom initiation into 
transcendental philosophy has rendered cautious. We may 
naturally entertain some doubt whether or not the under- 
standing can enounce any such synthetical proposition as 
that respecting the degree of all reality in phenomena, and 
consequently the possibility of the internal difference of sen- 
sation itself — abstraction being made of its empirical quality. 
Thus it is a question not unworthy of solution: How the 
understanding can pronounce synthetically and a priori re- 
specting phenomena, and thus anticipate these, even in that 
which is peculiarly and merely empirical, that, namely, which 
concerns sensation itself ? 

The quality of sensation is in all cases merely empirical, 
and cannot be represented a priori (for example, colors, taste, 


etc.). But tlie real — that which corresponds to sensation — in 
opposition to negation=0, only represents something the 
conception of which in itself contains a being (ein seyn), 
and signifies nothing but the synthesis in an empirical con- 
sciousness. That is to say, the empirical consciousness in 
the internal sense can be raised from to every higher de- 
gree, so that the very same extensive quantity of intuition, 
an illuminated surface, for example, excites as great a sensa- 
tion as an aggregate of many other surfaces less illuminated. 
"We can therefore make complete abstraction of the exten 
sive quantity of a phenomenon, and represent to ourselves 
in the mere sensation in a certain momentum,' a synthesis 
of homogeneous ascension from up to the given empirical 
consciousness. All sensations therefore as such are given 
only a posteriori, but this property thereof, namely, that 
they have a degree, can be known a priori. It is worthy 
of remark, that in respect to quantities in general we can 
cognize a priori only a single quality, namely, continuity; 
but in respect to all quality (the real in phenomena), we 
cannot cognize a priori anything more than the intensive 
quantity thereof, namely, that they have a degree. All else 
is left to experience. 

Ill — Analogies of Experience 

The principle of these is, "Experience is possible only 
through the representation of a necessary connection of per- 


Experience is an empirical cognition; that is to say, a 
cognition which determines an object by means of percep- 
tions. It is therefore a synthesis of perceptions, a synthesis 
which is not itself contained in perception, but which con- 

■ The particular degree of "reality," that is, the particular power or inten- 
sive quantity in the cause of a sensation, for example, redness, weight, etc., ia 
called, in the Kantian terminology, its moment. The term momentum, which we 
employ, must not be confounded with the word commonly employed in natural 
science. — Tr. 


tains the synthetical unity of the manifold of perception in 
a consciousness; and this unity constitutes the essential of 
our cognition of objects of the 'jenses, that is, of experience 
(not merely of intuition or f^ensation). Now in experience 
our perceptions come toget'jer contingently, so that no char- 
acter of necessity in their connection appears, or can appear 
from the perceptions thf.mselves, because apprehension is 
only a placing together of the manifold of empirical intui- 
tion, and no representation of a necessity in the connected 
existence of the phenomena which apprehension brings to- 
gether, is to be discovered therein. But as experience is a 
cognition of objects by means of perceptions, it follows that 
the relation of the existence of the manifold must be repre- 
sented in experience not as it is put together in time, but as 
it is objectively in time. And as time itself cannot be per- 
ceived, the determination of the existence of objects in time 
can only take place by means of their connection in time in 
general, consequently only by means of a priori connecting 
conceptions. Now as these conceptions always possess the 
character of necessity, experience is possible only by means 
of a representation of the necessary connection of per- 

The three modi of time are permanence, succession, and 
coexistence. Accordingly, there are three rules of all rela- 
tions of time in phenomena, according to which the exist- 
ence of every phenomenon is determined in respect of the 
unity of all time, and these antecede all experience, and 
render it possible. 

The general principle of all three analogies rests on the 
necessary unity of apperception in relation to all possible 
empirical consciousness (perception) at every time, conse- 
quently, as this unity lies a priori at the foundation of all 
mental operations, the principle rests on the synthetical unity 
of all phenomena according to their relation in time. For 
the original apperception relates to our internal sense (the 
complex of all representations), and indeed relates a priori 
to its form, that is to say, the relation of the manifold em- 


pirical consciousness in time. Now this manifold must be 
combined in original apperception according to relations of 
time — a necessity imposed by the a priori transcendental 
unity of apperception, to which is subjected all that can be- 
long to any (i.e. my own) cognition, and therefore all that 
can become an object for me. This synthetical and a priori 
determined unity in relation of perceptions in time is thei-e- 
fore the rule: "All empirical determinations of time must be 
subject to rules of the general determination of time"; and 
the analogies of experience, of which we are now about to 
treat, must be rules of this nature. 

These principles have this peculiarity, that they do not 
concern phenomena, and the synthesis of the empirical intui- 
tion thereof, but merely the existence of phenomena and their 
relation to each other in regard to this existence. Now the 
mode in which we apprehend a thing in a phenomenon can 
be determined a priori in such a manner that the rule of its 
synthesis can give, that is to say, can produce this a priori 
intuition in every empirical example. But the existence of 
phenomena cannot be known a priori, and although we could 
arrive by this path at a conclusion of the fact of some exist- 
ence, we could not cognize that existence determinately, that 
is to say, we should be incapable of anticipating in what re- 
spect the empirical intuition of it would be distinguishable 
from that of others* 

The two principles above mentioned, which 1 called 
mathematical, in consideration of the fact of their author- 
izing the application of mathematic to phenomena, relate 
to these phenomena only in regard to their possibility, and 
instruct us how phenomena, as far as regards their intuition 
or the real in their perception, can be generated according 
to the rules of a mathematical synthesis. Consequently, 
numerical quantities, and with them the determination of 
a phenomenon as a quantity, can be employed in the one 
case as well as in the other. Thus, for example, out of 
200,000 illaminations by the moon, I might compose, and 
give a priori, that is construct, the degree of our sensatdons 


of the sunlight.' We may therefore entitle these two prin- 
ciples constitutive. 

The case is very different with those principles whose 
province it is to subject the existence of phenomena to rules 
a priori. For as existence does not admit of being con- 
structed, it is clear that they must only concern the rela- 
tions of existence, and be merely regulative principles. In 
this case, therefore, neither axioms nor anticipations are to 
be thought of. Thus, if a perception is given us, in a cer- 
tain relation of time to other (although undetermined) per- 
ceptions, we cannot then say, a priori, what and how great 
(in quantity) the other perception necessarily connected with 
the former is, but only how it is connected, quoad its exist- 
ence, in this given modus of time. Analogies in philosophy 
mean something very different from that which they repre- 
sent in mathematics. In the latter they are formulae, which 
enounce the equality of two relations of quantity," and are 
always constitutive, so that if two terms of the proportion 
are given, the third is also given, that is, can be constructed 
by the aid of these furmulse. But in philosophy, analogy is 
not the equality of two quantitative but of two qualitative 
relations. In this case, from three given terms, I can give 
a priori and cognize the relation to a fourth member,' but 
not this fourth term itself, although I certainly possess a 
rule to guide me in the search for this fourth term in ex- 

' Kant's meaning is: The two principles enunciated under the heads of 
"Axioms of Intuition," and "Anticipations of Perception," authorize the apph'- 
cation to phenomena of determinations of size and number, that is, of mathe- 
matic. For example, I may compute the light of the sun, and say, that its 
quantity is a certain number of times greater than that of the moon. In the 
same way, heat is measured by the comparison of its different effects on water, 
etc., and on mercury in a thermometer. — Tr. 

' Known the two terms 3 and 6, and the relation of 3 to 6, not only the rela- 
tion of 6 to some other number is given, but that number itself, 12, ia given, 
that is, it is constructed. Therefore 3 : 6=6: 12. — Tr. 

' Given a known effect, a known cause, and another known effect, we rea- 
son, by analogy, to an unknown cause, which we do not cognize, but whose 
relation to the known effect we know from the comparison of the three given 
terms. Thus, our own known actions : our own known motives x= the known 
actions of others : x, that is, the motives of others which we cannot immediately 
eoKDize. — Tr. 


perience, and a mark to assist me in discovering it. An 
analogy of experience is therefore only a rule according to 
wliicli unity of experience must arise out of perceptions 
in respect to objects (phenomena) not as a constitutive, but 
merely as a regulative principle. The same holds good also 
of the postulates of empirical thought in general, which re- 
late to the synthesis of mere intuition (which concerns the 
form of phenomena), the synthesis of perception (which con- 
cerns the matter of phenomena), and the synthesis of expe- 
rience (which concerns the relation of these perceptions). 
For they are only regulative principles, and clearly dis- 
tinguishable from the mathematical, which are constitutive, 
not indeed in regard to the certainty which both possess 
a priori, but in the mode of evidence thereof, consequently 
also in the manner of demonstration. 

But what has been observed of all synthetical proposi- 
tions, and must be particularly remarked in this place, is 
this, that these analogies possess significance and validity, 
not as principles of the transcendental, but only as princi- 
ples of the empirical use of the understanding, and their 
truth can therefore be proved only as such, and that con- 
sequently the phenomena must not be subjoined directly 
under the categories, but only under their schemata. For 
if the objects to which those principles must be applied were 
things in themselves, it would be quite impossible to cognize 
aught concerning them synthetically a priori. But they are 
nothing but phenomena; a complete knowledge of which — 
a knowledge to which all principles a priori must at last re- 
late — is the only possible experience. It follows that these 
principles can have nothing else for their aim than the con- 
ditions of the unity of empirical cognition in the synthesis 
of phenomena. But this synthesis is cogitated only in the 
schema of the pure conception of the understanding, of 
whose unity, as that of a synthesis in general, the category 
contains the function unrestricted by any sensuous condi- 
tion. These principles will therefore authorize us to con- 
nect phenomena according to an analogy, with the logical 


and universal unity of conceptions, and consequently to em- 
ploy the categories in the principles themselves; but in the 
application of them to experience, we shall use only their 
schemata, as the key to their proper application, instead of 
the categories, or rather the latter as restricting conditions, 
under the title of formulas of the former. 

A — PiBST Analogy 


In all changes of phenomena, substance is permanent, and 

the quantum thereof in nature is neither increased 

nor diminished 


All phenomena exist in time, wherein alone as substratum, 
that is, as the permanent form of the internal intuition, co- 
existence and succession can be represented. Consequently 
time, in which all changes of phenomena must be cogitated, 
remains and changes not, because it is that in which succes- 
sion and coexistence can be represented only as determina- 
tions thereof. Now, time in itself cannot be an object of 
perception. It follows that in objects of perception, that 
is, in phenomena, there must be found a substratum which 
represents time in general, and in which all change or co- 
existence can be perceived by means of the relation of phe- 
nomena to it. But the substratum of all reality, that is, of 
all that pertains to the existence of things, is substance; 
all that pertains to existence can be cogitated only as a 
determination of substance. Consequently, the permanent, 
in relation to which alone can all relations of time in phe- 
nomena be determined, is substance in the world of phenom- 
ena, that is, the* real in phenomena, that which, as the sub- 
stratum of all change, remains ever the same. Accordingly, 
as this cannot change in existence, its quantity in nature can 
neither be increased nor diminished. 

Our apprehension of the manifold in a phenomenon is 


always successive, is consequently always changing. By 
it alone we could, therefore, never determine whether this 
manifold, as an object of experience, is coexistent or suc- 
cessive, unless it had for a foundation something that exists 
always, that is, something fixed and permanent, of the ex- 
istence of which all succession and coexistence are nothing 
but so many modes {modi of time). Only in the permanent, 
then, are relations of time possible (for simultaneity and suc- 
cession are the only relations in time); that is to say, the 
permanent is the substratum of our empirical representation 
of time itself, in which alone all determination of time is 
possible. Permanence is, in fact, just another expression 
for time, as the abiding correlate of all existence of phenom- 
ena, and of all change, and of all coexistence. For change 
does not affect time itself, but only the phenomena in time 
(just as coexistence cannot be regarded as a modus of time 
itself, seeing that in time no parts are coexistent, but all 
successive). ' If we were to attribute succession to time it- 
self, we should be obliged to cogitate another time, in which 
this succession would be possible. It is only by means of 
the permanent that existence in different parts of the suc- 
cessive series of time receives a quantity, which we entitle 
duration. For in mere succession, existence is perpetually 
vanishing and recommencing, and therefore never has even 
the least quantity. Without the permanent, then, no rela- 
tion in time is possible. Now, time in itself is not an object 
of perception; consequ«ntly the permanent in phenomena 
must be regarded as the substratum of all determination of 
time, and consequently also as the condition of the possibil- 
ity of all synthetical unity of perceptions, that is, of experi- 
ence ; and all existence and all change in time can only be 
regarded as a mode in the existence of that which abides 
unchangeably. Therefore, in all phenomena, the permanent 
is the object in itself, that is, the substance (phenomenon);" 

' The latter part of this sentence seems to contradict the former. The 
sequel will explain. — Tr. 

^ Not suistantia noumenon. — Tr, 


but all that changes or can change belongs only to the mode 
of the existence of this substance or substances, consequently 
to its determinations. 

I find that in all ages not only the philosopher, but even 
the common understanding, has preposited this permanence 
as a substratum of all change in phenomena; indeed, I am 
compelled to believe that they will always accept this as an 
indubitable fact. Only the philosopher expresses himself 
in a more precise and definite manner, when he says: "In 
all changes in the world, the substance remains, and the acci- 
dents alone are changeable." But of this decidedly synthet- 
ical proposition, I nowhere meet with even an attempt at 
proof; nay, it very rarely has the good fortune to stand, 
as it deserves to do, at the head of the pure and entirely 
a priori laws of nature. In truth, the statement that sub- 
stance is permanent is tautological. For this very perma- 
nence is the ground on which we apply the category oi sub- 
stance to the phenomenon ; and we should have been obliged 
to prove that in all phenomena there is something perma- 
nent, of the existence of which the changeable is nothing 
but a determination. But because a proof of this nature 
cannot be dogmatical, that is, cannot be drawn from con- 
ceptions, inasmuch as it concerns a synthetical proposition 
a priori, and as philosophers never reflected that such prop- 
ositions are valid only in relation to possible experience, and 
therefore cannot be proved except by means of a deduction 
of the possibility of experience, it is no wonder that while it 
has served as the foundation of all experience (for we feel 
the need of it in empirical cognition), it has never been 
supported by proof. 

A philosopher was asked, "What is the weight of 
smoke?" He answered, "Subtract from the weight of the 
burned wood the weight of the remaining ashes, and you 
will have the weight of the smoke." Thus he presumed 
it to be incontrovertible that even in fire the matter (sub- 
stance) does not perish, but that only the form of it under- 
goes a change. In like manner was the saying, "From 

XI — Science — 9 


nothing comes nothing," only another inference from the 
principle of permanence, or rather of the ever-abiding ex- 
istence of the true subject in phenomena. For if that in 
the phenomenon which we call substance is to be the proper 
substratum of all determination of time, it follows that all 
existence, in past as well as in future time, must be deter- 
minable by means of it alone. Hence we are entitled to 
apply the term substance to a phenomenon, only because we 
suppose its existence in all time, a notion which the word 
permanence does not f ally express, as it seems rather to be 
referable to future time. However, the internal necessity 
perpetually to be, is inseparably connected with the neces- 
sity always to have been, and so the expression may stand 
as it is. ^^Oigni de nihilo nihiV — "m nihilum nil posse 
reverii,^^ are two propositions which the ancients never 
parted, and which people nowadays sometimes mistakenly 
disjoin, because they imagine that the propositions apply to 
objects as things in themselves, and that the former might 
be inimical to the dependence (even in respect of its sub- 
stance also) of the world upon a supreme cause. But this 
apprehension is entirely needless, for the question in this 
case is only of phenomena in the sphere of experience, the 
unity of which never could be possible, if we admitted 
the possibility that new things (in respect of their substance) 
should arise. For in that case, we should lose altogether 
that which alone can represent the unity of time, to wit, the 
identity of the substratum, as that through which alone all 
change possesses complete and thorough unity. This per- 
manence is, however, nothing but the manner in which we 
represent to ourselves the existence of things in the phe- 
nomenal world. 

The determinations of a substance, which are only par- 
ticular modes of its existence, are called accidents. They 
are always real, because they concern the existence of sub- 
stance (negations are only determinations, which express the 
non-existence of something in the substance). Now, if to 
this real in the substance we ascribe a particular existence 


(for example, to motion as an accident of matter), this 
existence is called inherence, in contradistinction to the ex- 
istence of substance, which we call subsistence. But hence 
arise many misconceptions, and it would be a more accurate 
and just mode of expression to designate the accident only 
as the jmode in which the existence of a substance is posi- 
tively determined. Meanwhile, by reason of the conditions 
of the logical exercise of our understanding, it is impossible 
to avoid separating, as it were, that which in the exist- 
ence of a substance is subject to change, while the substance 
remains, and xegarding it in relation to that which is prop- 
erly permanent and radical. On this account, this category 
of substance stands under the title of relation, rather be- 
cause it is the condition thereof than because it contains in 
itself any relation. 

Now, upon this notion of permanence rests the proper 
notion of the conception change. Origin and extinction are 
not changes of that which originates or becomes extinct. 
Change is but a mode of existence, which follows on another 
mode of existence of the same object; hence all that changes 
is permanent, and only the condition thereof changes. Now 
since this mutation affects only determinations, which can 
have a beginning or an end, we may say, employing an 
expression which seems somewhat paradoxical, "Only the 
permanent (substance) is subject to change; the mutable 
suffers no change, but rather alternation, that is, when 
certain determinations cease, others begin." 

Change, then, cannot be perceived by us except in sub- 
stances, and origin or extinction in an absolute sense, that 
does not concern merely a determination of the permanent, 
cannot be a possible perception, for it is this very notion of 
the permanent which renders possible the representation 
of a transition from one state into another, and from non- 
being to being, which, consequently, can be empirically 
cognized only as alternating determinations of that which is 
permanent. Grant that a thing absolutely begins to be ; we 
must then have a point of time in which it was not. But 


how and by what can we fix and determine this point of 
time, unless by that which already exists ? For a void time 
— preceding — is not an object of perception ; but if we con- 
nect this beginning with objects which existed previously, 
and which continue to exist till the object in question 
begins to be, then the latter can only be a determi- 
nation of the former as the permanent. The same holds 
good of the notion of extinction, for this presupposes the 
empirical representation of a time, in which a phenomenon 
no longer exists. 

Substances (in the world of phenomena) are the sub- 
stratum of all determinations of time. The beginning of 
some, and the ceasing to be of other substances, would ut- 
terly do away with the only condition of the empirical unity 
of time; and in that case phenomena would relate to two 
different times, in which, side by side, existence would pass; 
which is absurd. For there is only one time in which all 
different times must be placed, not as coexistent, but as 

Accordingly, permanence is a necessary condition under 
which alone phenomena, as things or objects, are determin- 
able in a possible experience. But as regards the empirical 
criterion of this necessary permanence, and with it of the 
substantiality of phenomena, we shall find sufficient oppor- 
tunity to speak in the sequel. 

B — Second Analogy 


All changes take place according to the law of the connection 
oj Cause and Effect 

(That all phenomena in the succession of time are only 
changes, that is, a successive being and non-being of the 
determinations of substance, which is permanent; conse- 


quently that a being of substance itself wbicb follows on 
the non- being thereof, or a non- being of substance which 
follows on the being thereof, in other words, that the origin 
or extinction of substance itself, is impossible — all this has 
been fully established in treating of the foregoing principle. 
This principle might have been expressed as follows; ^''All 
alteration {succession) of phenomena is merely change"; for 
the changes of substance are not origin or extinction, be- 
cause the conception of change presupposes the same subject 
as existing with two opposite determinations, and conse- 
quently as permanent. After this premonition, we shall 
proceed to the proof.) 

I perceive that phenomena succeed one another, that is 
to say, a state of things exists at one time, the opposite of 
which existed in a former state. In this case, then, I really 
connect together two perceptions in time. Now connection 
is not an operation of mere sense and intuition, but is the 
product of a synthetical faculty of imagination, which deter- 
mines the internal sense in respect of a relation of time. 
But imagination can connect these two states in two ways, 
80 that either the one or the other may antecede in time, for 
time in itself cannot be an object of perception, and what m 
an object precedes and what follows cannot be empiricary 
determined in relation to it. I am only conscious, then, that 
my imagination places one state before, and the other after; 
not that the one state antecedes the other in the object. In 
other words, the objective relation of the successive phe- 
nomena remains quite undetermined by means of mere per- 
ception. Now in order that this relation may be cognized 
as determined, the relation between the two states must 
be so cogitated that it is thereby determined as necessary 
which of them must be placed before and which after, and 
not conversely. But the conception which carries with it 
a necessity of synthetical unity, can be none other than a 
pure conception of the understanding which does not lie in 
mere perception ; and in this case it is the conception of the 
relation of cause and effect, the former of which determines 


the latter in time, as its necessary consequence, and not as 
sometMng whicli might possibly antecede (or whicli might 
in some cases not be perceived to follow). It follows that it 
is only because we subject the sequence of phenomena, and 
consequently all change, to the law of causality, that expe- 
rience itself, that is, empirical cognition of phenomena, be- 
comes possible; and consequently, that phenomena them- 
selves, as objects of experience, are possible only by virtue 
of this law. 

Our apprehension of the manifold of phenomena is al- 
ways successive. The representations of parts succeed one 
another. Whether they succeed one another in the object 
also, is a second point for reflection, which was not con- 
tained in the former. Now we may certainly give the name 
of object to everything, even to every representation, so far 
as we are conscious thereof; but what this word may mean 
in the case of phenomena, not merely in so far as they (as 
representations) are objects, but only in so far as they indi- 
cate an object, is a question requiring deeper consideration. 
In so far as they, regarded merely as representations, are at 
the same time objects of consciousness, they are not to be 
distinguished from apprehension, that is, reception into 
the synthesis of imagination, and we must therefore say: 
"The manifold of phenomena is always produced succes- 
sively in the mind. ' ' If phenomena were things in them- 
selves, no man would be able to conjecture from the 
succession of our representations how this manifold is 
connected in the object; for we have to do only with our 
representations. How things may be in themselves, with- 
out regard to the representations through which they affect 
us, is utterly beyond the sphere of our cognition. Now 
although phenomena are not things in themselves, and are 
nevertheless the only thing given to us to be cognized, it is 
my duty to show what sort of connection in time belongs 
to the manifold in phenomena themselves, while the repre- 
sentation of this manifold in apprehension is always suc- 
cessive. For example, the apprehension of the manifold 


in tlie phenomenon of a house whicli stands before me is 
successive. Now comes the question, whether the manifold 
of this house is in itself also successive; — which no one will 
be at all willing to grant. But, so soon as I raise my con- 
ception of an object to the transcendental signification 
thereof, I find that the house is not a thing in itself, but 
only a phenomenon, that is, a representation, the transcen- 
dental object of which remains utterly unknown. What 
then am I to understand by the question, How can the 
manifold be connected in the phenomenon itself — not con- 
sidered as a thing in itself, but merely as a phenomenon ? 
Here that which lies in my successive apprehension is re- 
garded as representation, while the phenomenon which is 
given me, notwithstanding that it is nothing more than a 
complex of these representations, is regarded as the object 
thereof, with which my conception, drawn from the repre- 
sentations of apprehension, must harmonize. It is very 
soon seen that, as accordance of the cognition with its object 
constitutes truth, the question now before us can only relate 
to the formal conditions of empirical truth, and that the 
phenomenon, in opposition to the representations of appre- 
hension, can only be distinguished therefrom as the object 
of them, if it is subject to a rule, which distinguishes it 
from every other apprehension, and which renders necessary 
a mode of connection of the manifold. That in the phe- 
nomenon which contains the condition of this necessary rule 
of apprehension is the object. 

Let us now proceed to our task. That something hap- 
pens, that is to say, that something or some state exists 
which before was not, cannot be empirically perceived, un- 
less a phenomenon precedes, which does not contain in itself 
this state. For a reality which should follow upon a void 
time, in other words, a beginning, which no state of things 
precedes, can just as little be apprehended as the void time 
itself. Every apprehension of an event is therefore a per- 
ception which follows upon another perception. But as this 
is the case with all synthesis of apprehension, as I have 


stown above in the example of a house, my apprehen- 
sion of an event is not yet sufficiently distinguished from 
other apprehensions. But I remark also, that if, in a phe- 
nomenon which contains an occurrence, I call the antecedent 
state of my perception. A, and the following state, B, the 
perception B can only follow A in apprehension, and 
the perception A cannot follow B, but only precede it. 
For example, I see a ship float down the stream of a river. 
My perception of its place lower down follows upon my 
perception of its place higher up the course of the river, and 
it is impossible that in the apprehension of this phenomenon 
the vessel should be perceived first below and afterward 
higher up the stream. Here, therefore, the order in the 
sequence of perceptions in apprehension is determined; and 
by this order apprehension is regulated. In the former 
example, my perceptions in the apprehension of a house, 
might begin at the roof and end at the foundation, or vice 
versd; or I might apprehend the manifold in this empirical 
intuition by going from left to right, and from right to left. 
Accordingly, in the series of these perceptions, there was 
no determined order, which necessitated my beginning at a 
certain point, in order empirically to connect the manifold. 
But this rule is always to be met with in the perception of 
that which happens, and it makes the order of the successive 
perceptions in the apprehension of such a phenomenon 

I must therefore, in the present case, deduce the subjec- 
tive sequence of apprehension from the ohjective sequence of 
phenomena, for otherwise the former is quite undetermined, 
and one phenomenon is not distinguishable from another. 
The former alone proves nothing as to the connection of the 
manifold in an object, for it is quite arbitrary. The latter 
must consist in the order of the manifold in a phenomenon, 
according to which order the apprehension of one thing 
(thait which happens) follows that of another thing (which 
precedes), in conformity with a rule. In this way alone can 
I be authorized to say of the phenomenon itself, and not 


merely of my own apprehension, that a certain order or 
sequence is to be found therein. That is, in other words, I 
cannot arrange my apprehension otherwise than in this 

In conformity with this rule, then, it is necessary that in 
that which antecedes an event there be found the condition 
of a rule, according to which this event follows always and 
necessarily ; but I cannot reverse this and go back from the 
event, and determine (by apprehension) that which antecedes 
it. For no phenomenon goes back from the succeeding 
point of time to the preceding point, although it does cer- 
tainly relate to a preceding point of time; from a given 
time, on the other hand, there is always a necessary pro- 
gression to the determined succeeding time. Therefore, 
because there certainly is something that follows, I must 
of necessity connect it with something else, which antecedes, 
and upon which it follows, in conformity with a rule, that is 
necessarily, so that the event, as conditioned, afEords certain 
indication of a condition, and this condition determines 
the event. 

Let us suppose that nothing precedes an event, upon 
which this event must follow in conformity with a rule. 
All sequence of perception would then exist only in appre- 
hension, that is to say, would be merely subjective, and it 
could not thereby be objectively determined what thing 
ought to precede, and what ought to follow in perception. 
In such a case, we should have nothing but a play of repre- 
sentations, which would possess no application to any object. 
That is to say, it would not be possible through perception 
to distinguish one phenomenon from another, as regards 
relations of time; because the succession in the act of ap 
prehension would always be of the same sort, and therefore 
there would be nothing in the phenomenon to determine 
the succession, and to render a certain sequence objectively 
necessary. And, in this case, I cannot say that two states 
in a phenomenon follow one upon the other, but only that 
one apprehension follows upon another. But this is merelj 


subjective, and does not determine an object, and conse- 
quently cannot be beld to be cognition of an object — not 
even in the pbenomenal world. 

Accordingly, wben we know in experience that some- 
tbing happens, we always presuppose that something pre- 
cedes, whereupon it follows in conformity with a rule. For 
otherwise I could not say of the object, that it follows ; be- 
cause the mere succession in my apprehension, if it be not 
determined by a rule in relation to something preceding, 
does not authorize succession in the object. Only (therefore, 
in reference to a rule, according to which phenomena are 
determined in their sequence, that is, as they happen, by 
the preceding state, can 1 make my subjective synthesis 
(of apprehension) objective, and it is only under this pre- 
supposition that even the experience of an event is possible. 

No doubt it appears as if this were in thorough contra- 
diction to all the notions which people have hitherto 
entertained in regard to the procedure of the human under- 
standing. According to these opinions, it is by means of 
the perception and comparison of similar consequences fol- 
lowing upon certain antecedent phenomena, that the under- 
standing is led to the discovery of a rule, according to which 
certain events always follow certain phenomena, and it is 
only by this process that we attain to the conception of 
cause. Upon such a basis, it is clear that this conception 
must be merely empirical, and the rule which it furnishes 
us with — "Everything that happens must have a cause" — 
would be just as contingent as experience itself. The uni- 
versality and necessity of the rule or law would be perfectly 
spurious attributes of it. Indeed, it could not possess 
universal validity, inasmuch as it would not in this case be 
a priori, but founded on deduction. But the same is the 
case with this law as with other pure a priori representations 
{e.g., space and time), which we can draw in perfect clear- 
ness and completeness from experience, only because we 
had already placed them therein, and by that means, and by 
that alone, had rendered experience possible. Indeed, the 


logical clearness of this representation of a rule, determining 
the series of events, is possible only when we have made use 
thereof in experience. Nevertheless, the recognition of this 
rule, as a condition of the synthetical unity of phenomena in 
time, was the ground of experience itself, and consequently 
preceded it a priori. 

It is now our duty to show by an example, that we never, 
even in experience, attribute to an object the notion of suc- 
cession or effect (of an event — that is, the happening of 
something that did not exist before), and distinguish it from 
the subjective succession of apprehension, unless when a 
rule lies at the foundation, which compels us to observe this 
order of perception in preference to any other, and that, 
indeed, it is this necessity which first renders possible the 
representation of a succession in the object. 

We have representations within us, of which also we can 
be conscious. But, however widely extended, however ac- 
curate and thoroughgoing this consciousness may be, these 
representations are still nothing more than representations, 
that is, internal determinations of the mind in this or that 
relation of time. Now how happens it, that to these repre- 
sentations we sbould set an object, or that, in addition to 
their subjective reality, as modifications, we should still 
further attribute to them a certain unknown objective real- 
ity ? It is clear that objective significancy cannot consist in 
a relation to another representation (of that which we desire 
to term object), for in that case the question again arises: 
"How does this other representation go out of itself, and 
obtain objective significancy over and above the subjective, 
which is proper to it, as a determination of a state of 
mind?" If we try to discover what sort of new property 
the relation to an object gives to our subjective representa- 
tions, and what new importance they thereby receive, we 
shall find that this relation has no other effect than that of 
rendering necessary the connection of our representations in 
a certain manner, and of subjecting them to a rule ; and that 
conversely, it is only because a certain order is necessary 


in tlie relations of time of our representations, that objective 
significancy is ascribed to them. 

In the synthesis of phenomena, the manifold of our 
representations is always successive. Now hereby is not 
represented an object, for by means of this succession, which 
is common to all apprehension, no one thing is distinguished 
from another. But so soon as 1 perceive or assume, that in 
this succession there is a relation to a state antecedent, from 
which the representation follows in accordance with a rule, 
so soon do I represent something as an event, or as a thing 
that happens; in other words, I cognize an object to which I 
must assign a certain determinate position in time, which 
cannot be altered, because of the preceding state in the ob- 
ject. When, therefore, I perceive that something happens, 
there is contained in this representation, in the first place, 
the fact, that something antecedes; because it is only in 
relation to this, that the phenomenon obtains its proper 
relation of time, in other words, exists after an antecedent 
time, in which it did not exist. But it can receive its deter- 
mined place in time, only by the presupposition that some- 
thing existed in the foregoing state, upon -which it follows 
inevitably and always, that is, in conformity with a rule. 
From all this it is evident that, in the first place, I cannot 
reverse the order of succession, and make that which hap- 
pens precede that upon which it follows; and that, in the 
second place, if the antecedent state be posited, a certain 
determinate event inevitably and necessarily follows. Hence 
it follows that there exists a certain order in our representa- 
tions, whereby the present gives a sure indication of some 
previously existing state, as a correlate, though still unde- 
termined, of the existing event which is given — a. correlate 
which itself relates to the event as its consequence, condi- 
tions it, and connects it necessarily with itself in the series 
of time. 

If theu it be admitted as a necessary law of sensibility, 
and consequently a formal condition of all perception, that 
the preceding necessarily determines the succeeding time 


(inasmuoii as I cannot arrive at the succeeding except 
through, the preceding), it must likewise be an indispensable 
law of empirical representation of the series of time, that 
the phenomena of the past determine all phenomena in the 
succeeding time, and that the latter, as events, cannot take 
place, except in so far as the former determine their exist- 
ence in time, that is to say, establish it according to a rule. 
For it is of course only in phenomena that we can empiri- 
cally cognize this continuity in the connection of times. 

For all experience and for the possibility of experience, 
understanding is indispensable, and the first step which it 
takes in this sphere is not to render the representation of 
objects clear, ' but to render the representation of an object 
in general, possible. It does this by applying the order of 
time to phenomena, and their existence. In other words, 
it assigns to each phenomenon, as a consequence, a place 
in relation to preceding phenomena, determined a priori in 
time, without which it could not harmonize with time itself, 
which determines a place a priori to all its parts. This 
determination of place cannot be derived from the relation 
of phenomena to absolute time (for it is not an object of 
perception); but, on the contrary, phenomena must recipro- 
cally determine the places in time of one another, and render 
these necessary in the order of time. In other words, what- 
ever follows or happens must follow, in conformity with a 
universal rule, upon that which was contained in the fore- 
going state. Hence arises a series of phenomena, which, by 
means of the understanding, produces and renders necessary 
exactly the same order and continuous connection in the 
series of our possible perceptions, as is found a priori in 
the form of internal intuition (time), in which all our per- 
ceptions must have place. 

That something happens, then, is a perception which 
belongs to a possible experience, which becomes real, only 
because I look upon the phenomenon as determined in re- 
gard to its place in time, consequently as an object, which 
' This was the opinion of Wolf and Leibnitz. — Tr. 


can always be found by means of a rule in the connected 
series of my perceptions. But this rule of the determination 
of a thing according to succession in time is as follows: "In 
what precedes may be found the condition, under which an 
event always (that is, necessarily) follows. ' ' From all this 
it is obvious that the principle of cause and effect is the 
principle of possible experience, that is, of objective cog- 
nition of phenomena, in regard to their relations in the 
succession of time. 

The proof of this fundamental proposition rests entirely 
on the following momenta of argument. To all empirical 
cognition belongs the synthesis of the manifold by the 
imagination, a synthesis which is always successive, that 
is, in which the representations therein always follow one 
another. But the order of succession in imagination is not 
determined, and the series of successive representations may 
be taken retrogressively as well as progressively. But if 
this synthesis is a synthesis of apprehension (of the manifold 
of a given phenomenon), then the order is determined in the 
object, or, to speak more accurately, there is therein an 
order of successive synthesis which determines an object, 
and according to which something necessarily precedes, and 
when this is posited, something else necessarily follows. If, 
then, my perception is to contain the cognition of an event, 
that is, of something which really happens, it must be an 
empirical judgment, wherein we think that the succession 
is determined ; that is, it presupposes another phenomenon, 
upon which this event follows necessarily, or in conformity 
with a rule. If, on the contrary, when I posited the ante- 
cedent, the event did not necessarily follow, I should be 
obliged to consider it merely as a subjective play of my 
imagination, and if in this I represented to myself anything 
as objective, I must look upon it as a mere dream. Thus, 
the relation of phenomena (as possible perceptions), accord- 
ing to which that which happens is, as to its existence, 
necessarily determined in time by something which ante- 
cedes, in conformity with a rule — in other words, the rela- 


*ion of cause and effect — ^is the condition of the objective 
validity of our empirical judgments in regard to the sequence 
of perceptions, eonseqiiently of their empirical truth, and 
therefore of experience. The principle of the relation of 
causality in the succession of phenomena is therefore valid 
for all objects of experience, because it is itself the ground 
of the possibility of experience. 

Here, however, a difficulty arises, which must be resolved. 
The principle of the connection of causality among phenom- 
ena is limited in our formula to the succession thereof, al- 
though in practice we find that the principle applies also 
when the phenomena exist together in the same time, and 
•that cause and efEeet may be simultaneous. For example, 
■there is heat in a room, which does not exist in the open air, 
I look about for the cause, and find it to be the fire. Now 
the fire, as the cause, is simultaneous with its effect, the heat 
of the room. In this ease, then, there is no succession, as 
regards time, between cause and effect, but they are simul- 
taneous; and still the law holds good. The greater part of 
operating causes in nature are simultaneous with their effects, 
and the succession in time of the latter is produced only be- 
cause 'the cause cannot achieve the total of its effect in one 
moment. But at the moment when the effect first arises, it 
is always simultaneous with the causality of its cause, be- 
cause if the cau=e l^ad but a moment before ceased to be, the 
effect could not have arisen. Here it must be specially re- 
membered, t;hat we must consider the ^order of time, and not 
the lapse thereof. The relation remains, even though no 
time has elapsed. The time between the causality of the 
cause and its immediate effect may entirely vanish, and the 
cause and effect Tje thus simultaneous, but the relation of 
the one to the other remains always determinable according 
to time. If, for example, I consider a leaden ball, which 
lies upon a cushion and makes a hollow in it, as a cause, 
then ft IS simultaneous with the effect. But I distinguish 
the two throu^ the relation of time of the dynamical 
connection of both. For if I lay the ball upon the cush- 


Ion, then the hollow follows upon the before smooth surface,- 
but supposing the cushion has, from some cause or another, 
a hollow, there does not thereupon follow a leaden ball. 

Thus, the law of succession of time is in all instances the 
only empirical criterion of effect in relation to the causality 
of the antecedent cause. The glass is the cause of the ris- 
ing of the water above its horizontal surface, although the 
two phenomena are contemporaneous. For, as soon as I 
draw some water with the glass from a large vessel, an effect 
follows thereupon, namely, the change of the horizontal state 
which the water had in the large vessel into a concave, which 
It assumes in the glass. 

This conception of causality leads us to the conception 
of action; that of action, to the conception of force; and 
through it, to the conception of substance. As I do not 
wish this critical essay, the sole purpose of which is to 
treat of the sources of our synthetical cognition a priori, 
to be crowded with analyses which merely explain, but do 
not enlarge the sphere of our conceptions, I reserve the de- 
tailed explanation of the above conceptions for a future sys- 
tem of pure reason. Such an analysis, indeed, executed with 
great particularity, may already be found in well-known 
works on this subject. But I cannot at present refrain from 
making a few remarks on the empirical criterion of a sub- 
stance, in so far as it seems to be more evident and more 
easily recognized through the conception of action, than 
through that of the permanence of a phenomenon. 

Where action (consequently activity and force) exists, 
substance also must exist, and in it alone must be sought 
the seat of that fruitful source of phenomena. Very well. 
But if we are called upon to explain what we mean by sub- 
stance, and wish to avoid the vice of reasoning in a circle, 
the answer is by no means so easy. How shall we conclude 
immediately from the action to the permanence of that which 
acts, this being nevertheless an essential and peculiar cri- 
terion of substance (phenomenon) ? But after what has been 
said above, the solution of this question becomes easy enough, 


although by the common mode of procedure — merely analyz- 
ing our conceptions — it would be quite impossible. The 
conception of action indicates the relation of the subject of 
causality to the effect. Now because all effect consists in 
that which happens, therefore in the changeable, the last 
subject thereof is the permanent, as the substratum of all 
that changes, that is, substance. For according to the prin- 
ciple of causality, actions are always the first ground of all 
change in phenomena, and consequently cannot be a prop- 
erty of a subject which itself changes, because, if this were 
the case, other actions and another subject would be neces- 
sary to determine this change. From all this it results that 
action alone, as an empirical criterion, is a sufficient proof of 
the presence of substantiality, without any necessity on my 
part of endeavoring to discover the permanence of substance 
by a comparison. Besides, by this mode of induction we 
could not attain to the completeness which the magnitude 
and strict universality of the conception requires. For that 
the primary subject of the causality of all arising and pass- 
ing away, all origin and extinction, cannot itself (in the 
sphere of phenomena) arise and pass away, is a sound and 
safe conclusion, a conclusion which leads us to the con- 
ception of empirical necessity and permanence in exist- 
ence, and consequently to the conception of a substance 
as phenomenon. 

When something happens, the mere fact of the occur- 
rence, without regard to that which occurs, is an object 
requiring investigation. The transition from the non-being 
of a state into the existence of it, supposing that this state 
contains no quality which previously existed in the phe- 
nomenon, is a fact of itself demanding inquiry. Such an 
event, as has been shown in No, A, does not concern sub- 
stance (for substance does not thus originate), but its condi- 
tion or state. It is therefore only change, and not origin 
from nothing. If this origin be regarded as the effect of 
a foreign canse, it is termed creation, which cannot be ad- 
mitted as an event among phenomena, because the very 


possibility of it would annihilate the unity of experience. 
If, however, I regard all things not as phenomena, but as 
things in themselves, and objects of understanding alone, 
they, although substances, may be considered as dependent, 
in respect of their existence, on a foreign cause. But this 
would require a very different meaning in the words, a 
meaning which could not apply to phenomena as objects 
of possible experience. 

How a thing can be changed, how it is possible that upon 
one state existing in one point of time, an opposite state 
should follow in another point of time — of this we have not 
the smallest conception a priori. There is requisite for this 
the knowledge of real powers, which can only be given em- 
pirically; for example, knowledge of moving forces, or, in 
other words, of certain successive phenomena (as move- 
ments) which indicate the presence of such forces. But the 
form of every change, the condition under which alone it 
can take place as the coming into existence of another state 
(be the content of the change, that is, the state which is 
changed, what it may), and consequently the succession of 
the states themselves, can very well be considered a priori, 
in relation to the law of causality and the conditions of time.' 

When a substance passes from one state, a, into another 
state, b, the point of time in which the latter exists is differ- 
ent from, and subsequent to, that in which the former existed. 
In like manner, the second state, as reality (in the phenome- 
non), differs from the first, in which the reality of the second 
did not exist, as b from zero. That is to say, if the state, J, 
differs from the state, a, only in respect to quantity, the 
change is a coming into existence of b — a, which in the 
former state did not exist, and in relation to which that 
state is=0. 

Now the question arises, how a thing passes from one 

' It must be remarked, that I do not speak of the change of certain rela- 
tions, but of the change of the state. Thus, when a body moves in a uniform 
manner, it does not change its state (of motion); but only when its motion 
increases or decreases. 


state=a, into another state=6. Between two moments there 
is always a certain time, and between two states existing in 
these moments there is always a difference having a certain 
quantity {for all parts of phenomena are in their turn quan- 
tities). Consequently, every transition from one state into 
another is always effected in a time contained between two 
moments, of which the first determines the state which the 
thing leaves, and the second determines the state into which 
the thing passes. Both moments, then, are limitations of 
the time of a change, consequently of the intermediate state 
between both, and as such they belong to the total of the 
change. Now every change has a cause, which evidences its 
causality in the whole time during which the change takes 
place. The cause, therefore, does not produce the change 
all at once or in one moment, but in a time, so that, as the 
time gradually increases from the commencing instant, a, to 
its completion at b, in like manner also, the quantity of the 
reality {b — a) is generated through the lesser degrees which 
are contained between the first and last. All change is 
therefore possible only through a continuous action of the 
causality, which, in so far as it is uniform, we call a mo- 
mentum. The change does not consist of these momenta, 
but is generated or produced by them as their effect. 

Such is the law of the continuity of all change, the 
ground of which is, that neither time itself nor any phe- 
nomenon in time consists of parts which are the smallest 
possible, but that, notwithstanding, the state of a thing 
passes in the process of a change through all these parts, 
as elements, to its second state. There is no smallest de- 
gree of reality in a phenomenon, just as there is no smallest 
degree in the quantity of time; and so the new state of the 
reality grows up out of the former state, through all the 
infinite degrees thereof, the differences of which one from 
another, taken all together, are less than the difference 
between and a. 

It is not our business to inquire here into the utility of 
this principle in the investigation of nature. But how such 


a proposition, which appears so greatly to extend our knowl- 
edge of nature, is possible completely a priori, is indeed a 
question which deserves investigation, although the first 
view seems to demonstrate the truth and reality of the 
principle, and the question, how it is possible, may be 
considered superfluous. For there are so many ground- 
less pretensions to the enlargement of our knowledge by 
pure reason, that we must take it as a general rule to be 
mistrustful of all such, and without a thorough-going and 
radical deduction, to believe nothing of the sort even on the 
clearest dogmatical evidence. 

Every addition to our empirical knowledge, and every 
advance made in the exercise of our perception, is nothing 
more than an extension of the determination of the internal 
sense, that is to say, a progression in time, be objects them- 
selves what they may, phenomena, or pure intuitions. This 
progression in time determines everything, and is itself de- 
termined by nothing else. That is to say, the parts of the 
progression exist only in time, and by means of the synthe- 
sis thereof, and are not given antecedently to it. For this 
reason, every transition in perception to anything which fol- 
lows upon another in time, is a determination of time by 
means of the production of this perception. And as this 
determination of time is, always and in all its parts, a quan- 
tity, the perception produced is to be considered as a quan- 
tity which proceeds through all its degrees — no one of which 
is the smallest possible — from zero up to its determined de- 
gree. From this we perceive the possibility of cognizing 
a priori a law of changes — a law, however, which concerns 
their form merely. We merely anticipate our own appre- 
hension, the formal condition of which, inasmuch as it is 
itself to be found in the mind antecedently to all given 
phenomena, must certainly be capable of being cognized 
a priori. 

Thus, as time contains the sensuous condition a priori 
of the possibility of a continuous progression of that which 
exists to that which follows it, the understanding, by virtue 


of the unity of apperception, contains the condition a priori 
of the possibility of a continuous determination of the posi- 
tion in time of all phenomena, and this by means of the series 
of causes and effects, the former of which necessitate the 
sequence of the latter, and thereby render universally and 
for all time, and, by consequence, objectively, valid the 
empirical cognition of the relations of time. 

C — Third Analogy 


All substances, in so far as they can be perceived in space 

at the same time, exist in a state of complete 

reciprocity of action 

Things are coexistent, when in empirical intuition the 
perception of the one can follow upon the perception of 
the other, and vice versd — which cannot occur in the suc- 
cession of phenomena, as we have shown in the explanation 
of the second principle. Thus I can perceive the moon and 
then the earth, or conversely, first the earth and then the 
moon ; and for the reason that my perception of these objects 
can reciprocally follow each other, I say, they exist con- 
temporaneously. Now coexistence is the existence of the 
manifold in the same time. But time itself is not an object 
of perception; and therefore we cannot conclude, from the 
fact that things are placed in the same time, the other fact, 
that the perceptions of these things can follow each other 
reciprocally. The synthesis of the imagination in apprehen- 
sion would only present to us each of these perceptions as 
present in the subject when the other is not present, and 
contrariwise; but would not show that the objects are co- 
existent, that is to say, that, if the one exists, the other also 
exists in the same time, and that this is necessarily so, in 
order that the perceptions may be capable of following each 
other reciprocally. It follows that a conception of the 


understanding or category of tiie reciproeal sequence of 
the determinations of phenomena (existing, as they do, apart 
from each other, and yet contemporaneously), is requisite to 
justify us in saying that the reciprocal succession of percep- 
tions has its foundation in the object, and to enable us to 
represent coexistence as objective. But that relation of 
substances in which the one contains determinations the 
ground of which is in the other substance, is the relation 
of influence. And, when this influence is reciprocal, it 
is the relation of community or reciprocity. Consequently 
the coexistence of substances in space cannot be cognized 
in experience otherwise than under the precondition of 
their reciprocal action. This is therefore the condition 
of the possibility of things themselves as objects of ex- 

Things are coexistent, in so far as they exist in one and 
the same time. But how can we know that they exist in 
one and the same time? Only by observing that the order 
in the synthesis of apprehension of the manifold is arbi- 
trary and a matter of indifference, that is to say, that it 
can proceed from A, through B, C, D, to E, or contrari- 
wise from E to A. For if they were successive in time 
(and in the order, let us suppose, which begins with A), 
it is quite impossible for the apprehension in percep- 
tion to begin with E and go backward to A, inasmuch 
as A belongs to past time, and therefore cannot be an 
object of apprehension. 

Let us assume that in a number of substances considered 
as phenomena each is completely isolated, that is, that no 
one acts upon another. Then I say that the coexistence of 
these cannot be an object of possible perception, and that 
the existence of one cannot, by any mode of empirical syn- 
thesis, lead us to the existence of another. For we imagine 
them in this case to be separated by a completely void space, 
and thus perception, which proceeds from the one to the 
other in time, would indeed determine their existence by 
means of a following perception, but would be quite unable 


to distinguish whetiier the one phenomenon follows objec- 
tively upon the first, or is coexistent with it. 

Besides the mere fact of existence then, there must be 
something by means of which A determines the position of 
B in time, and, conversely, B the position of A; because 
only under this condition can substances be empirically rep- 
resented as existing contemporaneously. Now that alone 
determines the position of another thing in time, which is 
the cause of it or of its determinations. Consequently every 
substance (inasmuch as it can have succession predicated of 
it only in respect of its determinations) must contain the 
causality of certain determinations in another substance, and 
at the same time the effects of the causality of the other in 
itself. That is to say, substances must stand (mediately or 
immediately) in dynamical community with each other, if 
coexistence is to be cognized in any possible experience. 
But, in regard to objects of experience, that is absolutely 
necessary, without which the experience of these objects 
would itself be impossible. Consequently it is absolutely 
necessary that all substances in the world of phenomena, in 
so far as they are coexistent, stand in a relation of complete 
community of reciprocal action to each other. 

The word community has in our language' two meanings, 
and contains the two notions conveyed in the Latin com- 
munio, and commercium. We employ it in this place in the 
latter sense — that of a dynamical community, without which 
even the community of place {communio spatii) could not be 
empirically cognized. In our experiences it is easy to ob- 
serve, that it is only the continuous influences in all parts 
of space that can conduct our senses from one object to 
another; that the light which plays between our eyes and 
the heavenly bodies produces a mediating community be- 
tween them and us, and thereby evidences their coexistence 
with us; that we cannot empirically change our position 
(perceive this change), unless the existence of matter 

' German. 


throughout the whole of space rendered possible the per- 
ception of the positions we occupy ; and that this perception 
can prove the contemporaneous existence of these places 
only through their reciprocal influence, and thereby also 
the coexistence of even the most remote objects — although 
in this case the proof is only mediate. Without community, 
every perception (of a phenomenon in space) is separated 
from every other and isolated, and the chain of empirical 
representations, that is, of experience, must, with the ap- 
pearance of a new object, begin entirely de novo, without the 
least connection with preceding representations, and without 
standing toward these even in the relation of time. My 
intention here is by no means to combat the notion of empty 
space ; for it may exist where our perceptions cannot exist, 
inasmuch as they cannot reach thereto, and where, therefore, 
no empirical perception of coexistence takes place. But in 
this case it is not an object of possible experience. 

The following remarks may be useful in the way of 
explanation. In the mind, all phenomena, as contents of a 
possible experience, must exist in community (communio) 
of apperception or consciousness, and in so far as it is 
requisite that objects be represented as coexistent and con- 
nected, in so far must they reciprocally determine the posi- 
tion in time of each other, and thereby constitute a whole. 
If this subjective community is to rest upon an objective 
basis, or to be applied to substances as phenomena, the per- 
ception of one substance must render possible the perception 
of another, and conversely. For otherwise succession, which 
is always found in perceptions as apprehensions, would be 
predicated of external objects, and their representation of 
their coexistence be thus impossible. But this is a recipro- 
cal influence, that is to say, a real community (commercium) 
of substances, without which therefore the empirical relation 
of coexistence would be a notion beyond the reach of our 
minds. By virtue of this commercium, phenomena, in so 
far as they are apart from, and nevertheless in connec' 
tion with each other, constitute a compositum reale. Such 


composita are possible in many different ways. Tlie three 
dynamical relations then, from which all others spring, 
are those of Inherence, Consequence, and Composition. 

These, then, are the three analogies of experience. They 
are nothing more than principles of the determination of the 
existence of phenomena in time, according to the three modi 
of this determination; to wit, the relation to time itself as 
a quantity (the quantity of existence, that is, duration), the 
relation in time as a series or succession, finally, the relation 
in time as the complex of all existence (simultaneity). This 
unity of determination in regard to time is thoroughly dynam- 
ical ; that is to say, time is not considered as that in which 
experience determines immediately to every existence its 
position; for this is impossible, inasmuch as absolute time 
is not an object of perception, by means of which phenomena 
can be connected with each other. On the contrary, the 
rule of the understanding, through which alone the exist- 
ence of phenomena can receive synthetical unity as regards 
relations of time, determines for every phenomenon its posi- 
tion in time, and consequently a priori, and with validity 
for all and every time. 

By nature, in the empirical sense of the word, we under- 
stand the totality of ' phenomena connected, in respect of 
their existence, according to necessary rules, that is, laws. 
There are therefore certain laws (which are moreover a 
priori) which make nature possible; and all empirical laws 
can exist only by means of experience, and by virtue of 
those primitive laws through which experience itself be- 
comes possible. The purpose of the analogies is therefore 
to represent to us the unity of nature in the connection of 
all phenomena under certain exponents, the only business 
of which is to express the relation of time (in so far as it 
contains all existence in itself) to the unity of apperception, 
which can exist in synthesis only according to rules. The 
combined expression of all is this: All phenomena exist in 
one nature, and must so exist, inasmuch as without this 

XI — Science — 10 


a priori unity, no unity of experience, and consequently no 
determination of objects in experience, is possible. 

As regards the mode of proof which we have employed 
in treating of these transcendental laws of nature, and the 
peculiar character of it, we must make one remark, which 
will at the same time be important as a guide in every other 
attempt to demonstrate the truth of intellectual and likewise 
synthetical propositions a priori. Had we endeavored to 
prove these analogies dogmatically, that is, from concep- 
tions; that is to say, had we employed this method in at- 
tempting to show that everything which exists, exists only 
in that which is permanent — that everything or event pre- 
supposes the existence of something in a preceding state, 
upon which it follows in conformity with a rule — lastly, that 
in the manifold, which is coexistent, the states coexist in 
connection with each other according to a rule — all our labor 
would have been utterly in vain. For mere conceptions of 
things, analyze them as we may, cannot enable us to con- 
cludle from the existence of one object to the existence of 
another. What other course was left for us to pursue? 
This only, to demonstrate the possibility of experience as a 
cognition in which at last all objects must be capable of 
being presented to us, if the representation of them is to 
possess any objective reality. Now in this third, this me- 
diating term, the essential form of which consists in the 
synthetical unity of the apperception of all phenomena, we 
found a priori conditions of the universal and necessary 
determination as to time of all existences in the world of 
phenomena, without which the empirical determination 
thereof as to time would itself be impossible, and we also 
discovered rules of synthetical unity a priori., by means of 
which we could anticipate experience. I'or want of this 
method, and from the fancy that it was possible to discover 
a dogmatical proof of the synthetical propositions which are 
requisite in the empirical employment of the understanding, 
has it happened, that a proof of the principle of sufficient 
reason has been so often attempted, and always in vain. 


The other two analogies nobody has ever thought of, al- 
though they have always been silently employed by the 
mind,' because the guiding thread furnished by the cate- 
gories was wanting, the guide which alone can enable us to 
discover every hiatus, both in the system of conceptions and 
of principles. 

IV — The Postulates of Empirical Thought 

1. That which agrees with the formal conditions (intui- 
tion and conception) of experience, is possible, 

2. That which coheres with the material conditions of 
experience (sensation), is real. 

8. That wbose coherence with the real is determined 
according to universal conditions of experience, is (exists) 


The categories of modality possess this peculiarity, that 
they do not in the least determine the object, or enlarge the 
conception to which they are annexed as predicates, but 
only express its relation to the faculty of cognition. Though 
my conception of a thing is in itself complete, I am still 
entitled to ask whether the object of it is merely possible, 
or whether it is also real, or, if the latter, whether it is also 
necessary. But hereby the object itself is not more definitely 
determined in thought, but the question is only in what 
relation it, including all its determinations, stands to the 
understanding and its employment in experience, to the em- 
pirical faculty of judgment, and to the reason in its applica- 
tion to experience. 

For this very reason, too, the categories of modality are 

' The unity of the universe, in which aU phenomena must he connected, is 
evidently a mere consequence of the tacitly admitted principle of the community 
of all substances which are coexistent. For were substances isolated, they 
could not as parts constitute a whole, and were their connection (reciprocal 
action of the manifold) not necessary from the very fact of coexistence, we 
could not conclude from the fact of the latter as a merely ideal relation to the 
former as a real one. We have, however, shown in its place, that community 
is the proper ground of the possibility of an empirical cognition of coexistence, 
and that we may therefore properly reason from the latter to the former as 
its condition. 


nothing more than explanations of the conceptions of possi- 
bility, reality, and necessity, as employed in experience, and 
at the same time, restrictions of all the categories to empiri- 
cal use alone, not authorizing the transcendental employment 
of them. For if they are to have something more than a 
merely logical significance, and to be something more than 
a mere analytical expression of the form of thought, and to 
have a relation to things and their possibility, reality or 
necessity, they must concern possible experience and its 
synthetical unity, in which alone objects of cognition can 
be given. 

The postulate of the possibility of things requires also, 
that the conception of the things agree with the formal con- 
ditions of our experience in general. But this, that is to 
say, the objective form of experience, contains all the kinds 
of synthesis which are requisite for the cognition of objects. 
A conception which contains a synthesis must be regarded 
as empty and without reference to an object, if its synthesis 
does not belong to experience — either as borrowed from it, 
and in this case it is called an empirical conception, or such 
as is the ground and a priori condition of experience (its 
form), and in this case it is a pure conception, a conception 
which nevertheless belongs to experience, inasmuch as its 
object can be found in this alone. For where shall we find 
the criterion of character of the possibility of an object which 
is cogitated by means of an d priori synthetical conception, 
if not in the synthesis which constitutes the form of empiri- 
cal cognition of objects? That in such a conception no 
contradiction exists is indeed a necessary logical condition, 
but very far from being sufficient to establish the objective 
reality of the conception, that is, the possibility of such an 
object as is thought in the conception. Thus, in the concep- 
tion of a figure which is contained within two straight lines, 
there is no contradiction, for the conceptions of two straight 
lines and of their junction contain no negation of a figure. 
The impossibility in such a case does not rest upon the con- 
ception in itself, but upon the construction of it in space, 


that is to say, upon the conditions of space and its determi- 
nations. But these have themselves objective reality, that 
is, they apply to possible things, because they contain 
a priori the form of experience in general. 

And now we shall proceed to point out the extensive 
utility and influence of this postulate of possibility. When 
I represent to myself a thing that is permanent, so that 
everything in it which changes belongs merely to its state or 
condition, from such a conception alone I never can cogniize 
that such a thing is possible. Or, if I represent to myself 
something which is so constituted that, when it is posited, 
something else follows always and infallibly, my thought 
contains no self-contradiction; but whether such a property 
as causality is to be found in any possible thing, my thought 
alone affords no means of judging. Finally, I can represent 
to myself different things (substances) which are so consti- 
tuted, that the state or condition of one causes a change in 
the state of the other, and reciprocally ; but whether such a 
relation is a property of things cannot be perceived from 
these conceptions, which contain a merely arbitrary syn- 
thesis. Only from the fact, therefore, that these conceptions 
express a priori the relations of perceptions in every experi- 
ence, do we know that they possess objective reality, that is, 
transcendental truth; and that independent of experience, 
though not independent of all relation to the form of an ex- 
perience in general and its synthetical unity, in which alone 
objects can be empirically cognized. 

But when we fashion to ourselves new conceptions of 
substances, forces, action and reaction, from the material 
presented to us by perception, without following the ex- 
ample of experience in their connection, we create mere 
chimeras, of the possibility of which we cannot discover any 
criterion, because we have not taken experience for our in- 
structress, though we have borrowed the conceptions from 
hex. Such fictitious conceptions derive their character of 
possibility not, like the categories, a priori, as conceptions 
OP which all experience depends, but only, a posteriori, as 


conceptions given by means of experience itself, and their 
possibility must either be cognized a posteriori and empiri- 
cally, or it cannot be cognized at all. A substance, which 
is permanently present in space, yet without filling it (lifcg 
that tertium quid between matter and the thinking subject 
which some have tried to introduce into metaphysics), or a 
peculiar fundamental power of the mind of intuiting the 
future by anticipation (instead of merely inferring from past 
and present events), or, finally, a power of the mind to place 
itself in community of thought with other men, however dis- 
tant they may be — these are conceptions, the possibility of 
which has no ground to rest upon. For they are not based 
upon experience and its known laws ; and without experience, 
they are a merely arbitrary conjunction of thoughts, which, 
though containing no internal contradiction, has no claim to 
objective reality, neither, consequently, to the possibility of 
such an object as is thought in 'these conceptions. As far 
as concerns reality, it is self-evident that we cannot cogitate 
such a possibility in concreto without the aid of experience; 
because reality is concerned only with sensation, as the matter 
of experience, and not with the form of thought, with which 
we can no doubt indulge in shaping fancies. 

But I pass by everything which derives its possibility from 
reality in experience, and I purpose treating here merely of 
the possibility of things by means of a priori conceptions. 
I maintain, then, that the possibility of things is not derived 
from such conceptions per se, but only when considered as 
formal and objective conditions of an experience in general. 

It seems, indeed, as if the possibility of a triangle could 
be cognized from the conception of it alone (which is cer- 
tainly independent of experience); for we can certainly give 
to the conception a corresponding object completely a priori, 
that is to say, we can construct it. But as a triangle is only 
the form of an object, it must remain a mere product of the 
imagination, and the possibility of the existence of an object 
corresponding to it must remain doubtful, unless we can dis- 
cover some other ground, unless we know that the figure can 


be cogitated under tlie conditions upon wtich all objects of 
experience rest. Now, the facts that space is a formal con- 
dition a priori of external experience, that the formative 
synthesis, by which we construct a triangle in imagination, 
is the very same as that we employ in the apprehension of a 
phenomenon for the purpose of making an empirical concep- 
tion of it, are what alone connect the notion of the possibil- 
ity of such a thing with the conception of it. In the same 
manner, the possibility of continuous quantities, indeed of 
quantities in general, for the conceptions of them are with- 
out exception synthetical, is never evident from the concep- 
tions in themselves, but only when they are considered as 
the formal conditions of the determination of objects in ex- 
perience. And where, indeed, should we look for objects 
to correspond to our conceptions, if not in experience, by 
which alone objects are presented to us? It is, however, 
true that without antecedent experience we can cognize and 
characterize the possibility of things, relatively to the formal 
conditions, under which something is determined in experience 
as an object, consequently completely a priori. But still this 
is possible only in relation to experience and within its limits. 

The postulate concerning the cognition of the reality of 
things requires perception, consequently conscious sensation, 
not indeed immediately, that is, of the object itself, whose 
existence is to be cognized, but still that the object have 
some connection with a real perception, in accordance with 
the analogies of experience, which exhibit all kinds of real 
connection in experience. 

From the mere conception of a thing it is impossible to 
conclude its existence. For, let the conception be ever 
so complete, and containing a statement of all the deter- 
minations of the thing, the existence of it has nothing to 
do with all this, but only with the question — whether such 
a thing is given, so that the perception of it can in every 
case precede the conception. For the fact that the concep- 
tion of it precedes the perception, merely indicates the pos- 
sibility ol its existence it is perception, which presents mat- 


ter to the conception, that is the sole criterion of reality. 
Prior to the perception of the thing, however, and therefore 
comparatively a priori, we are able to cognize its existence, 
provided it stands in connection with some perceptions ac- 
cording to the principles of the empirical conjunction ot 
these, that is, in conformity with the analogies of percep- 
tion. For, in this case, the existejioe of the supposed thing 
is connected with our perceptions in a possible experience, 
and we are able, with the guidance of these analogies, to 
reason in the series of possible perceptions from a thing 
which we do really perceive to the thing we do not per- 
ceive. Thus, we cognize the existence of a magnetic matter 
penetrating all bodies from the perception of the attraction 
of the steel-filings by the magnet, although the constitution 
of our organs renders an immediate perception of this matter 
impossible for us. For, according to the laws of sensibility 
and the connected context of our perceptions, we should in 
an experience come also on an immediate empirical intuition 
of this matter, if our senses were more acute — but this ob- 
tuseness has no influence upon and cannot alter the form 
of possible experience in general. Our knowledge of the 
existence of things reaches as far as our perceptions, and 
what may be inferred from them according to empirical 
laws, extend. If we do not set out from experience, or 
do not proceed according to the laws of the empirical con- 
nection of phenomena, our pretensions to discover the ex- 
istence of a thing which we do not immediately perceive are 
vain. Idealism, however, brings forward powerful objec- 
tions to these rules for proving existence mediately. This 
is, therefore, the proper place for its refutation. 

Ebfutation of Idealism 

Idealism — I mean material ' idealism — is the theory which 
declares the existence of objects in space without us to be 

' In opposition to formal or critical idealism — the theory of Kant — ^whieh 
denies to us a knowledge of things as things in themselves, and maintains that 
wo can know only phenomena. — JV. 


either (1) doubtful and indemonstrable, or (2) false and im- 
possible. The first is the problematical idealism of Des 
Cartes, who admits the undoubted certainty of only one 
empirical assertion {assertio), to wit, / am. The second 
is the dogmatical idealism of Berkeley, who maintains that 
space, together with all the objects of which it is the insep- 
arable condition, is a thing which is in itself impossible, and 
that consequently the objects in space are mere products of 
the imagination. The dogmatical theory of idealism is un- 
avoidable, if we regard space as a property of things in 
themselves; for in that case it is, with all to which it serves 
as condition, a nonentity. But the foundation for this kind 
of idealism we have already destroyed in the transcendental 
aesthetic. Problematical idealism, which makes no such as- 
sertion, but only alleges our incapacity to prove the exist- 
ence of anything besides ourselves by means of immediate 
experience, is a theory rational and evidencing a thorough 
and philosophical mode of thinking, for it observes the rule, 
not to form a decisive judgment before sufficient proof be 
shown. The desired proof must therefore demonstrate that 
we have experience of external things, and not mere fancies. 
For this purpose, we must prove, that our internal and, to 
Des Cartes, indubitable experience is itself possible only 
under the previous assumption of external experience. 


The simple but empirically determined consciousness of my 
own existence proves the existence of external objects in space 


I am conscious of my own existence as determined in 
time. All determination in regard to time presupposes the 
existence of something permanent in perception. But this 
permanent something cannot be something in me, for the 
very reason that my existence in time is itself determined 
by this permanent something. It follows that the percep- 
tion of this permanent existence is possible only through a 


thing without me, and not liuough the mere representation 
of a thing without me. Consequently, the determination of 
my existence in time is possible only through the existence 
of real things external to me. Now, coasciouBneBS in time 
is necessarily connected with the consciousness of the possi- 
bility of this determination in time. Hence it follows, that 
consciousness in time is necessarily connected also with the 
existence of things without me, inasmuch as the existence of 
these things is the condition of determination in time. That 
is to say, the consciousness of my own existence is at the 
same time an immediate consciousness of the existence of 
other things without me. 

Remark I. The reader will observe, that in the foregoing 
proof the game which idealism plays is retorted upon itself, 
and with more justice. It assumed, that the only Immediate 
experience is internal, and that from this we can only infer 
the existence of external things. But, as always happens, 
when we reason from given effects to determined causes, 
idealism has reasoned with too much haste and uncertainty, 
for it is quite possible that the cause of our representations 
may lie in ourselves, and that we ascribe it falsely to exter- 
nal things. But our proof shows that external experience 
is properly immediate,' that only by virtue of it — not, in- 
deed, the consciousness of our own existence, but certainly 
the determination of our existence in time, that is, internal 
experience — is possible. It is true, that the representation 
/ am, which is the expression of the consciousness which 
can accompany all my thoughts, is that which immediately 
includes the existence of a subject. But in this representa- 

' The immediate consciousness of the existence of external things is, in the 
preceding theorena, not presupposed, but proved, be the possibility of this con- 
sciousness understood bj us or not. The question as to the possibility of it 
would stand thus : Have we an internal sense, but no external sense, and is our 
belief in external pereeptioa a mere delusion ? But it is evident that, in order 
merely to fancy to ourselves anything as external, that is, to present it to the 
sense in intuition, we must already possess an external sense, and must thereby 
distinguish immediately the mere receptivity of an external intuition from the 
spontaneity which characterizes every act of imsigination. For marely to imag- 
ine also an external sense, would annihilate the faculty of intuition itself which 
is to be determined by the imagination. 


tion we cannot find any knowledge of the subject, and there- 
fore also no empirical knowledge, that is, experience. For 
experience contains, in addition to the thought of something 
existing, intuition, and in this case it must be internal intui- 
tion, that is, time, in relation to which the subject must be 
determined. But the existence of external things is abso- 
lutely requisite for this purpose, so that it follows that inter- 
nal experience is itself possible only mediately and through 
external experience. 

Remarh II. Now with this view all empirical use of our 
faculty of cognition in the determination of time is in perfect 
accordance. Its truth is supported by the fact, that it is pos- 
sible to perceive a determination of time only by means of 
a change in external relations (motion) to the permanent in 
space (for example, we become aware of the sun's motion, 
by observing the changes of his relation to the objects of 
this earth). But this is not all. We find that we possess 
nothing permanent that can correspond and be submitted to 
the conception of a substance as intuition, except matter. 
This idea of permanence is not itself derived from external 
experience, but is an a priori necessary condition of all de- 
termination of time, consequently also of the internal sense 
in reference to our own existence, and that through the ex- 
istence of external things. In the representation /, the con- 
sciousness of myself is not an intuition, but a merely intel- 
lectual representation produced by the spontaneous activity 
of a thinking subject. It follows, that this / has not any 
predicate of intuition, which, in its character of permanence, 
could serve as correlate to the determination of time in the 
internal sense — in the same way as impenetrability is the cor- 
relate of matter as an empirical intuition. 

Bemarh III. From the fact that the existence of external 
things is a necessary condition of the possibility of a deter- 
mined consciousness of ourselves, it does not follow that 
every intuitive representation of external things involves 
the existence of these things, for their representations may 
very well be the mere products of the imagination (in dreams 


as well as in madness) ; though, indeed, these are themselves 
created by the reproduction of previous external perceptions, 
which, as has been shown, are possible only through the re- 
ality of external objects. The sole aim of our remarks has, 
however, been to prove that internal experience in general 
is possible only through external experience in general. 
Whether this or that supposed experience be purely imag- 
inary, must be discovered from its particular determina- 
tions, and by comparing these with the criteria of all real 

Finally, as regards the third postulate, it applies to 
material necessity in existence, and not to merely formal 
and logical necessity in the connection of conceptions. Now 
as we cannot cognize completely a priori the existence of 
any object of sense, though we can do so comparatively 
a priori, that is, relatively to some other previously given 
existence — a cognition, however, which can only be of such 
an existence as must be contained in the complex of experi- 
ence, of which the previously given perception is a part — ■ 
the necessity of existence can never be cognized from con- 
ceptions, but always, on the contrary, from its connection 
with that which is an object of perception. But the only 
existence cognized, under the condition of other given phe- 
nomena, as necessary, is the existence of effects from given 
causes in conformity with the laws of causality. It is con- 
sequently not the necessity of the existence of things (as 
substances), biit the necessity of the state of things that" 
we cognize, and that not immediately, but by means of the 
existence of other states given in perception, according to 
empirical laws of causality. Hence it follows, that the 
criterion of necessity is to be found only in the law of a 
possible experience — that everything which happens is de- 
termined a priori in the phenomenon by its cause. Thus 
we cognize only the necessity of effects in nature, the causes 
of which are given us. Moreover, the criterion of necessity 
in existence possesses no application beyond the field of 


possible experience, and even in this it is not valid of the 
existence of things as substances, because these can never 
be considered as empirical effects, or as something that hap- 
pens and has a beginning. Necessity, therefore, regards 
only the relations of phenomena according to the dynamical 
law of causality, and the possibility grounded thereon, of 
reasoning from some given existence (of a cause) a priori 
to another existence (of an effect). Everything that happens 
is hypothetically necessary, is a principle which subjects the 
changes that take place in the world to a law, that is, to a 
rule of necessary existence, without which nature herself 
could not possibly exist. Hence the proposition, Nothing 
happens by blind chance (in mundo non datur casus), is an 
a priori law of nature. The case is the same with the propo- 
sition. Necessity in nature is not blind, that is, it is condi- 
tioned, consequently intelligible necessity [non datur fatum). 
Both laws subject the play of change to a nature of things 
(as phenomena), or, which is the same thing, to the unity of 
the understanding, and through the understanding alone can 
changes belong to an experience, as the synthetical unity of 
phenomena. Both belong to the class of dynamical princi- 
ples. The former is properly a consequence of the principle 
of causality — one of the analogies of experience. The latter 
oelongs to the principles of modality, which to the determi- 
nation of causality adds the conception of necessity, which is 
itself, however, subject to a rule of the understanding. The 
principle of continuity forbids any leap in the series of phe- 
nomena regarded as changes {in mundo non datur saltus); 
and likewise, in the complex of all empirical intuitions in 
space, ahy break or hiatus between two phenomena {non 
datur hiatus) — for we can so express the principle, that ex- 
perience can admit nothing which proves the existence of a 
vacuum, or which even admits it as a part of an empirical 
synthesis. For, as regards a vacuum or void, which we may 
cogitate as out of and beyond the field of possible experience 
(the world), such a question cannot come before the tribunal 
of mere understanding, which decides only upon questions 


that concern the employment of given phenomena for the 
construction of empirical cognition. It is rather a problem 
for ideal reason, which passes beyond the sphere of a possi- 
ble experience, and aims at forming a judgment of that 
which surrounds and circumscribes it, and the proper place 
for the consideration of it is the transcendental dialectic. 
These four propositions, In mundo non datur hiatus, non 
datur saltus, non datur casus, non datur fatum, as well as all 
principles of transcendental origin, we could very easily 
exhibit in their proper order, that is, in conformity with the 
order of the categories, and assign to each its proper place. 
But the already practiced reader will do this for himself, or 
discover the clew to such an arrangement. But the com- 
bined result of all is simply this, to admit into the empirical 
synthesis nothing which might cause a break in or be foreign 
to the understanding and the continuous connection of all 
phenomena, that is, the unity of the conceptions of the 
understanding. For in the understanding alone is the unity 
of experience, in which all perceptions must have their 
assigned place, possible. 

Whether the field of possibility be greater than, that of 
reality, and whether the field of the latter be itself greater 
than that of necessity, are interesting enough questions, and 
quite capable of synthetical solution, questions, however, 
which come under the jurisdiction of reason alone. For 
they are tantamount to asking, whether all things as phe- 
nomena do without exception belong to the complex and 
connected whole of a single experience, of which every 
given perception is a part, a part which therefore cannot be 
conjoined with any other phenomena — 'Or, whether my per- 
ceptions can belong to more than one possible experience ? 
The understanding gives to experience, according to the 
subjective and formal conditions, of sensibility as well as of 
apperception, the rules which alone make this experience 
possible. Other forms of intuition besides those of space 
and time, other forms of understanding besides the discur- 
sive forms of thought, or of cognition by means of con- 


ceptions, we can neither imagine nor make intelligible to 
oTiTselves; and even if we oonld, they would still not belong 
to experience, which is the only mode of cognition by which 
objects are presented to ns. Whether other perceptions be- 
sides those which belong to the total of our possible experi- 
ence, and consequently whether some other sphere of matter 
exists, the understanding has no power to decide, its proper 
occupation being with the synthesis of that which is given. 
Moreover, the poverty of the usual arguments which go tc 
prove the existence of a vast sphere of possibility, of which 
all that is real (every object of experience) is but a small 
part, is very remarkable. "All real is possible"; from this 
follows naturally, according to the logical laws of conver- 
sion, the particular proposition, "Some possible is real." 
Now this seems to be equivalent to "Much is possible that 
is not real." No doubt it does seem as if we ought to con- 
sider the sum of the possible to be greater than that of the 
real, from the fact that something must be added to 
the former to constitute the latter. But this notion of add- 
ing to the possible is absurd. For that which is not in the 
sum of the possible, and consequently requires to be added 
to it, is manifestly impossible. In addition to accordance 
with the formal conditions of experience, the understanding 
requires a connection with some perception; but that which 
is connected with this perception, is real, even although it 
is not immediately perceived. But that another series of 
phenomena, in complete coherence with that which is given 
in perception, consequently more than one all-embracing 
experience is possible, is an inference which cannot be con- 
cluded from the data given us by experience, and still Jess 
without any data at all. That which is possible only under 
conditions which are themselves merely possible, is not pos- 
sible in any respect. And yet we can find no more certain 
ground on which to base the discussion of the question 
whether the sphere of possibility is wider than that of 

I have merely mentioned these questions, that in treating 


of the conception of the understanding there might be no 
omission of anything that, in the common opinion, belongs 
to them. In reality, however, the notion of absolute pos- 
sibility (possibility which is valid in every respect) is not 
a mere conception of the understanding, which can be 
employed empirically, but belongs to reason alone, which 
passes the bounds of all empirical use of the understanding. 
We have, therefore, contented ourselves with a merely criti- 
cal remark, leaving the subject to be explained ia the sequel. 

Before concluding this fourth section, and at the same 
time the system of all principles of the pure understanding, 
it seems proper to mention the reasons which induced me to 
term the principles of modality postulates. This expression 
I do not here use in the sense which some more recent phi- 
losophers, contrary to its meaning with mathematicians, to 
whom the word properly belongs, attach to it — that of a 
proposition, namely, immediately certain, requiring neither 
deduction nor proof. For if, in the case of synthetical 
propositions, however evident they may be, we accord to 
them without deduction, and merely on the strength of their 
own pretensions, unqualified belief, all critique of the under- 
standing is entirely lost; and, as there is no want of bold 
pretensions, which the common belief (though for the phi- 
losopher this is no credential) does not reject, the under- 
standing lies exposed to every delusion and conceit, without 
the power of refusing its assent to those assertions, which, 
though illegitimate, demand acceptance as veritable axioms. 
When, therefore, to the conception of a thing an a priori 
determination is synthetically added, such a proposition 
must obtain, if not a proof, at least a deduction of the 
legitimacy of its assertion. 

The principles of modality are, however, not objectively 
synthetical, for the predicates of possibility, reality, and 
necessity do not in the least augment the conception of that 
of which they are affirmed, inasmuch as they contribute 
nothing to the representation of the object. But as they 
are, nevertheless, always synthetical, they are so merely 


subjectively. That is to say, they have a reflective power, 
and apply to the conception of a thing, of which, in other 
respects, they affirm nothing, the faculty of cognition in 
which the conception originates and has its seat. So that if 
the conception merely agree with the formal conditions of 
experience, its object is called possible; if it is in connection 
with perception, and determined thereby, the object is real; 
if it is determined according to conceptions by means of the 
connection of perceptions, the object is called necessary. 
The principles of modality therefore predicate of a concep- 
tion nothing more than the procedure of the faculty of cog- 
nition which generated it. Now a postulate in mathematics 
is a practical proposition which contains nothing but the 
synthesis by which we present an object to ourselves, and 
produce the conception of it, for example — ' ' With a given 
line, to describe a circle upon a plane, from a given point"; 
and such a proposition does not admit of proof, because the 
procedure, which it requires, is exactly that by which alone 
it is possible to generate the conception of such a figure. 
With the same right, accordingly, can we postulate the prin- 
ciples of modality, because they do not augment' the con- 
ception of a thing, but merely indicate the manner in which 
it is connected with the faculty of cognition. 


It is very remarkable that we cannot perceive the possi- 
bility of a thing from the category alone, but must always 
have an intuition, by which to make evident the objective 
reality of the pure conception of the understanding. Take, 
for example, the categories of relation. How (1) a thing can 
exist only as a subject, and not as a mere determination of 
other ihings, that is, can be substance; or how {2), because 
something exists, some other thing must exist, consequently 

■ "When I think the reality of a thing, I do really think more than the possi- 
bility, but not in the thing; for that can never contain more in reality than was 
contained in Its complete possibility. But while the notion of possibility is 
merely the notion of a position of a thing in relation to the understanding (its 
empirical use), reaility is the conjunction of the thing with perception. 


how a thing can be a cause ; or (3) how, when several things 
exist, from the fact that one of these things exists, some 
consequence to the others follows, and reciprocally, and in 
this way a community of substances can be possible — are 
questions whose solution cannot be obtained from mere con- 
ceptions. The very same is the case with the other catego- 
ries; for example, how a thing can be of the same sort with 
many others, that is, can be a quantity, and so on. So long 
as we have not intuition we cannot know^ whether we do 
really think an object by the categories, and where an object 
can anywhere be found to cohere with them, and thus the 
truth is established, that the categories are not in themselves 
cognitions, but raere forms of thought for the construction of 
cognitions from given intuitions. For the same reason is it 
true that from categories alone no synthetical proposition 
can be made. For example, "In every existence there is 
substance, ' ' that is, something that can exist only as a sub- 
ject and not as mere predicate; or, "everything is a quan- 
tity" — to construct propositions such as these, we require 
something to enable us to go out beyond the given concep- 
tion and connect another with it. For the same reason the 
attempt to prove a synthetical proposition by means of mere 
conceptions, for example, "Everything that exists contin- 
gently has a cause, ' ' has never succeeded. "We could never 
get further than proving that, without this relation to con- 
ceptions, we could not conceive the existence of the contin- 
gent, that is, could. not a priori through the understanding 
cognize the existence of such a thing; but it does not hence 
follow that this is also the condition of the possibility of 
the thing itself that is said to be contingent. If, according- 
ly, we look back to our proof of the principle of causality, 
we shall find that we were able to prove it as valid only of 
objects of possible experience, and, indeed, only as itself the 
principle of the possibility of experience, consequently of 
the cognition of an object given in empirical intuition, and 
not from mere conceptions. That, however, the proposition, 
"Everything that is contingent must have a cause," is evi- 


dent to every one merely from conceptions, is not to be 
denied. But in this case the conception of the contingent is 
cogitated as involving not the category of modality (as that 
the non-existence of which can be conceived), but that of re- 
lation (as that which can exist only as the consequence of 
something else), and so it is really an identical proposition, 
"That which can exist only as a consequence has a cause." 
In fact, when we have to give examples of contingent exist- 
ence, we always refer to changes, and not merely to the pos- 
sibility of conceiving the opposite.^ But change is an event, 
which, as such, is possible only through a cause, and con- 
sidered per se its non-existence is therefore possible, and we 
become cognizant of its contingency from the fact that it 
can exist only as the efEect of a cause. Hence, if a thing is 
assumed to be contingent, it is an analytical proposition to 
say, it has a cause. 

But it is still more remarkable that, to understand the 
possibility of things according to the categories, and thus to 
demonstrate the objective reality of the latter, we require not 
merely intuitions, but external intuitions. If, for example, 
we take the pure conceptions of relation, we find that (1) for 
the purpose of presenting to the conception of substance 
something permanent in intuition corresponding thereto, and 
thus of demonstrating the objective reality of this concep- 
tion, we require an intuition (of matter) in space, because 
space alone is permanent and determines things as such, 
while time, and with it all that is in the internal sense, is in 
a state of continual flow; (2) in order to represent change as 

• We can easily conceive the non-existence of matter ; but the ancients did 
not thence infer Its contingency. But even the alternation of the ezistence and 
non-existence of a given state in a thing, in which all change consists, by no 
means proves the contingency of that state — the ground of proof being the 
reality of its opposite. For example, a body is in a state of rest after motion, 
but we cannot infer the contingency of the motion from the fact that the former 
is the opposite of the latter. For this opposite is merely a logical and not a 
real opposite to the other. If we wish to demonstrate the contingency of the 
motion, what we ought to prove is, that, instead of the motion which took place 
in the preceding point of time, it was possible for the body to have been then in 
rest, not, that it is afterward in rest ; for, in this case, both opposites are per- 
fectly consistent with each other. 


-the intuition corresponding to the conception of causality, 
we require the representation of motion as change in space; 
in fact, it is through it alone that changes, the possibility 
of which no pure understanding can perceive, are capable of 
being intuited. Change is the connection of determinations 
contradictorily opposed to each other in the existence of one 
and the same thing. Now, how it is possible that out of a 
given state one quite opposite to it in the same tbing should 
follow, reason without an example cannot only not con- 
ceive, but cannot even make intelligible without intuition; 
and tbis intuition is the motion of a point in space; the 
existence of which in different spaces (as a consequence of 
opposite determinations) alone makes the intuition of change 
possible. For, in order to make even internal change cogi- 
table, we require to represent time, as the form of the in- 
ternal sense, figuratively by a line, and the internal change 
by the drawing of that line (motion), and consequently are 
obliged to employ external intuition to be able to represent 
the successive existence of ourselves in different states. 
The proper ground of this fact is, that all change to be per- 
ceived as change presupposes something permanent in intui- 
tion, while in the internal sense no permanent intuition is to 
be foiind. Lastly, the objective possibility of the category 
of community cannot be conceived by mere reason, and con- 
sequently its objective reality cannot be demonstrated with- 
out an intuition, and that external in space. For how can 
we conceive the possibility of community, that is, when 
several substances exist, that some effect on the existence of 
the one follows from the existence of the other, and recipro- 
cally, and therefore that, because something exists in the 
latter, something else must exist in the former, which could 
not be understood from its own existence alone ? For this 
is the very essence of community — which is inconceivable 
as a property of things which are perfectly isolated. Hence, 
Leibnitz, in attributing to the substances of the world — as 
cogitated by the understanding alone — a community, re- 
quired the mediating aid of a divinity; for, from their 


existence, such a property seemed to him with justice 
inconceivable. But we can very easily conceive the possi- 
bility of community (of substances as phenomena) if we 
represent them to ourselves as in space, consequently in 
external intuition. For external intuition contains in itself 
a priori formal external relations, as the conditions of the 
possibility of the real relations of action and reaction, and 
therefore of the possibility of community. With the same 
ease can it be demonstrated, that the possibility of things 
as quantities, and consequently the objective reality of the 
category of quantity, can be grounded only in external intui- 
tion, and that by its means alone is the notion of quantity 
appropriated by the internal sense. But I must avoid pro- 
lixity, and leave the task of illustrating this by examples to 
the reader's own reflection. 

The above remarks are of the greatest importance, not 
only for the confirmation of our previous confutation of 
idealism, but still more when the subject of self-cognition by 
mere internal consciousness and the determination of our 
own nature without the aid of external empirical intuitions 
is under discussion, for the indication of the grounds of the 
possibility of such a cognition. 

The result of the whole of this part of the Analytic of 
Principles is, therefore — All principles of the pure under- 
standing are nothing more than a priori principles of the 
possibility of experience, and to experience alone do all 
a priori synthetical propositions apply and relate — indeed, 
their possibility itself rests entirely on this relation. 




We have now not only traversed the region of the pure 
understanding, and carefully surveyed every part of it, but 


we have also measured it, and assigned to everytMng therein 
its proper place. But this land is an island, and inclosed by 
nature herself within unchangeable limits. It is the land of 
truth (an attractive word), surrounded by a wide and stormy 
ocean, the region of illusion, where many a fog-bank, many 
an iceberg, seems to the mariner, on his voyage of discovery, 
a new country, and while constantly deluding him with vain 
hopes, engages him in dangerous adventures, from which he 
never can desist, and which yet he never can bring to a ter- 
mination. But before venturing upon this sea, in order to 
explore it in its whole extent, and to arrive at a certainty 
whether anything is to be discovered there, it will not be 
without advantage if we cast our eyes upon the chart of the 
land that we are about to leave, and to ask ourselves, first, 
whether we cannot rest perfectly contented with what it con- 
tains, or whether we must not of necessity be contented with 
it, if we can find nowhere else a solid foundation to build 
upon; and, secondly, by what title we possess this land it- 
self, and how we hold it secure against all hostile claims? 
Although, in the course of our analytic, we have already 
given sufficient answers to these questions, yet a summary 
recapitulation of these solutions may be useful in strength- 
ening our conviction, by uniting in one point the momenta 
of the arguments. 

We have seen that everything which the understanding 
draws from itself, without borrowing from experience, it 
nevertheless possesses only for the behoof and use of expe- 
rience. The principles of the pure understanding, whether 
constitutive a priori (as the mathematical principles), or 
merely regulative (as the dynamical), contain nothing but 
the pure schema, as it were, of possible experience. For 
experience possesses its unity from the synthetical unity 
which the understanding, originally and from itself, imparts 
to the synthesis of the imagination in relation to appercep- 
tion, and in a priori relation to and agreement with which 
phenomena, as data for a possible cognition, must stand. 
But although these rules of the understanding are not only 


a priori true, but the very source of all truth, that is, of the 
accordance of our cognition with objects, and on this ground, 
that they contain the basis of the possibility of experience, 
as the ensemble' of all cognition, it seems to us not enough 
to propound what is true — we desire also to be told what we 
want to know. If, then, we learn nothing more by this crit- 
ical examination than what we should have practiced in the 
merely empirical use of the understanding, without any such 
subtle inquiry, the presumption is, that the advantage we 
reap from it is not worth the labor bestowed upon it. It 
may certainly be answered, that no rash curiosity is more 
prejudicial to the enlargement of our knowledge than that 
which must know beforehand the utility of this or that piece 
of information which we seek, before we have entered on the 
needful investigations, and before one could form the least 
conception of its utility, even though it were placed before 
our eyes. But there is one advantage in such transcendental 
inquiries which can be made comprehensible to the dullest 
and most reluctant learner — this, namely, that the under- 
standing which is occupied merely with empirical exercise, 
and does not reflect on the sources of its own cognition, may 
exercise its functions very well and very successfully, but is 
quite unable to do one thing, and that of very great impor- 
tance, to determine, namely, the bounds that limit its em- 
ployment, and to know what lies within or without its own 
sphere. This purpose can be obtained only by such pro- 
found investigations as we have instituted. But if it cannot 
distinguish whether certain questions lie within its horizon 
or not, it can never be sure either as to its claims or posses- 
3ions, but must lay its account with many humiliating cor- 
rections, when it transgresses, as it unavoidably will, the 
limits of its own territory, and loses itself in fanciful opin- 
ions and blinding illusions. 

That the understanding, therefore, cannot make of its 

' Inbegriff. The word continent, in the sense of that which contains the 
content (mhalt), if I might be allowed to use an old word in a new sense, would 
exactly hit the meaning. — ZV. 


a priori principles, or eyen of its conceptions, otter than 
an empirical use, is a proposition which, leads to the most 
important results. A transcendental use is made of a con- 
ception in a fundamental proposition or principle, when it 
is referred to things in general and considered as things in 
themselves; an empirical use, when it is referred merely 
to phenomena, that is, to objects of a possible experience. 
That the latter use of a conception is the only admissible 
one, is evident from the reasons following. For every con- 
ception are requisite, first, the logical form of a conception 
(of thought) in general; and, secondly, the possibility of 
presenting to this an object to which it may apply. Fail- 
ing this latter, it has no sense, and is utterly void of content, 
although it may contain the logical function for constructing 
a'conoeption from certain data. Now object cannot be given 
to a conception otherwise than by intuition, and, even if a 
pure intuition antecedent to the object is a priori possible, 
this pure intuition can itself obtain objective validity only 
from empirical intuition, of which it is itself but the form. 
All conceptions, therefore, and with them all principles, 
however high the degree of their a priori possibility, relate 
to empirical intuitions, that is, to data toward a possible ex- 
perience. Without this they possess no objective validity, 
but are a mere play of imagination or of understanding with 
images or notions. Let us take, for example, the conceptions 
of mathematics, and first in its pure intuitions. ' ' Space has 
three dimensions" — "Between two points there can be only 
one straight line, ' ' etc. Although all these principles, and 
the representation of the object with which this science occu- 
pies itself, are generated in the mind entirely a priori, they 
would nevertheless have no significance, if we were not al- 
ways able to exhibit their significance in and by means of 
phenomena (empirical objects). Hence it is requisite that 
an abstract conception be made sensuous, that is, that an 
object corresponding to it in intuition be forthcoming, other- 
wise the conception remains, as we say, without sense, that 
is, without meaning. Mathematics fulfils this requirement 


by the construction of the figure, which, is a plieiLomenon 
evident to the senses. The same science finds support and 
significance in number; this in its turn finds it in the fingers 
or in counters, or in lines and points. The conception itself 
is always produced a priori, together with the synthetical 
principles or formulas from such conceptions; but the proper 
employment of them, and their application to objects, can 
exist nowhere but in experience, the possibility of which, 
as regards its form, they contain a priori. 

That this is also the case with all of th.e categories and 
the principles based upon them, is evident from the fact, 
that we cannot render intelligible the possibility of an object 
corresponding to them, without having recourse to the con- 
ditions of sensibility, consequently, to the form of phenom- 
ena, to which, as their only proper objects, their use must 
therefore be confined; inasmuch as, if this condition is re- 
moved, all significance, that is, all relation to an object, 
disappears, and no example can be found to make it com- 
prehensible what sort of things we ought to think under 
such conceptions. 

The conception of quantity cannot be explained except 
by saying that it is the determination of a thing whereby it 
can be cogitated how many times one is placed in it. ' But 
this "how many times" is based upon successive repetition, 
consequently upon time and the synthesis of the homogene- 
ous therein. Eeality, in contradistinction to negation, can 
be explained only by cogitating a time which is either filled 
therewith or is void. If I leave out the notion of perma- 
nence (which is existence in all time), there remains in the 
conception of substance nothing but the logical notion of 
subject, a notion of which I endeavor to realize by repre- 
senting to myself something that can exist only as a subject. 
But not only am I perfectly ignorant of any conditions under 

■ Kant's meaning is, that we cannot have any conception of the size, quan- 
tity, etc. , of a thing, without cogitating or. constructing arbitrarily a unit, which 
shall be the standard of measurement. This is observable in weights, measures, 
etc. Number is the schema of quantity. — Tr. 
ZI — Science — 11 


which this logical prerogative can belong to a thing, I can 
make nothing out of the notion, and draw no inference from 
it, because no object to which to apply the conception is de- 
termined, and we consequently do not know whether it has 
any meaning at all. In like manner, if I leave out the notion 
of time, in which something follows upon some other thing 
in conformity with a rule, I can find nothing in the pure cat- 
egory, except that there is a something of such a sort that 
from it a conclusion may be drawn as to the existence of 
some other thing. But in this case it would not only be im- 
possible to distinguish between a cause and an effect, but, as 
this power to draw conclusions requires conditions of which 
I am quite ignorant, the conception is not determined as to 
the mode in which it ought to apply to an object. The so- 
called principle, Everything that is contingent has a cause, 
comes with a gravity and self-assumed authority that seems 
to require no support from without. But, I ask, what is 
meant by contingent ? The answer is, that the non-existence 
of which is possible. But I should like very well to know, 
by what means this possibility of non-existence is to be cog- 
nized, if we do not represent to ourselves a succession in the 
series of phenomena, and in this succession an existence 
which follows a non-existence, or conversely, consequently, 
change. For to say, that the non-existence of a thing is not 
self-contradictory, is a lame appeal to a logical condition, 
which is no doubt a necessary condition of the existence of 
the conception, but is far from being sufficient for the real 
objective possibility of non-existence. I can annihilate in 
thought every existing substance without self-contradiction, 
but I cannot infer from this their objective contingency in 
existence, that is to say, the possibility of their non-existence 
in itself. As regards the category of community, it may 
easily be inferred that, as the pure categories of substance 
and causality are incapable of a definition and explanation 
sufficient to determine their object without the aid of intui- 
tion, the category of reciprocal causality in the relation of 
substances to each other {commercium) is just as little sus- 


ceptible thereof. Possibility, Existence, and Necessity no- 
body has ever yet been able to explain without being guilty 
of manifest tautology, when the definition has been drawn 
entirely from the pure understanding. For the substitution 
of the logical possibility of the conception — the condition of 
which is that it be not self -contradictory, for the transcen- 
dental possibility of things — ^the condition of which is, that 
there be an object corresponding to the conception, is a trick 
which can only deceive the inexperienced.' 

It follows incontestably, that the pure conceptions of the 
understanding are incapable of transcendental, and must al- 
ways be of empirical use alone, and that the principles of 
the pure understanding relate only to the general conditions 
of a possible experience, to objects of the senses, and never 
to things in general, apart from the mode in which we in- 
tuite them. 

Transcendental Analytic has accordingly this important 
result, to wit, ttiat the understanding is competent to effect 
nothing a priori, except the anticipation of the form of a 
possible experience in general, and, that, as that which is 
not phenomenon cannot be an object of experience, it can 
never overstep the limits of sensibility, within which alone 
objects are presented to us. Its principles are merely prin- 
ciples of the exposition of phenomena, and the proud name 
of an Ontology, which professes to present synthetical cog- 
nitions a priori of things in general in a systematic doctrine, 
must give place to the modest title of analytic of the pure 

Thought is the act of referring a given intuition to an 
object. If the mode of this intuition is unknown to us, the 
object is merely transcendental, and the conception of the 
understanding is employed only transcendentally, that is, 

■ In one word, to none of these conceptions belongs a correaponding object, 
and consequently their real possibility cannot be demonstrated, if we take away 
sensuous intuition — the only intuition which we possess, and there then remains 
nothing but the logical possibility, that is, the fact that the conception or thought 
is possible— which, however, is not the qpestion ; what we want to know being, 
whether it relates to an object and thus possesses any meaning. 


to produce unity in the thought of a manifold in general. 
Now a pure category, in which all conditions of sensuous 
intuition— as the only intuition we possess — are abstracted, 
does not determine an object, but merely expresses the 
thought of an object in general, according to different 
modes. Now, to employ a conception, the function of 
judgment is required, by which an object is subsumed under 
the conception, consequently the at least formal condition, 
under which something can be given in intuition. Failing 
this condition of judgment (schema), subsumption is impos- 
sible ; for there is in such a case nothing given, which may 
be subsumed under the conception. The merely transcen- 
dental use of the categories is therefore, in fact, no use at all, 
and has no determined, or even, as regards its form, deter- 
minable object. Hence it follows, that the pure category is 
incompetent to establish a synthetical a priori principle, and 
that the principles of the pure understanding are only of em- 
pirical and never of transcendental use, and that beyond the 
sphere of possible experience no synthetical a priori princi- 
ples are possible. 

It may be advisable, therefore, to express ourselves thus. 
The pure categories, apart from the formal conditions of 
sensibility, have a merely transcendental meaning, but are 
nevertheless not of transcendental use, because this is in it- 
self impossible, inasmuch as all the conditions of any em- 
ployment or use of them (in judgments) are absent, to wit, 
the formal conditions of the subsumption of an object under 
these conceptions. As, therefore, in the character of pure 
categories, they must be employed empirically, and cannot 
be employed transcendentally, they are of no use at all, 
when separated from sensibility, that is, they cannot be ap- 
plied to an object. They are merely the pure form of the 
employment of the understanding in respect of objects in 
general and of thought, without its being at the same time 
possible to think or to determine any object by their means. 

But there lurks at the foundation of this subject an illu- 
sion which it is very difficult to avoid. The categories are 


not based, as regards their origin, upon sensibility, like the 
forms of intuition, space and time; they seem, therefore, to 
be capable of an application beyond the sphere of sensuous 
objects. But this is not the case. They are nothing but 
mere /orms of thought, which contain only the logical faculty 
of uniting a 'priori in consciousness the manifold given in 
intuition. Apart, then, from the only intuition possible for 
us, they have still less meaning than the pure sensuous 
forms, space and time, for through them an object is at 
least given, ■while a mode of connection of the manifold, 
when the intuition which alone gives the manifold is want- 
ing, has no meaning at all. At the same time, when we des- 
ignate certain objects as phenomena or sensuous existences, 
thus distinguishing our mode of intuiting them from their 
own nature as things in themselves, it is evident that by this 
very distinction we as it were place the latter, considered in 
this their own nature, although we do not so intuite them, 
in opposition to the former, or, on the other hand, we do 
so place other possible things, which are not objects of our 
senses, but are cogitated by the understanding alone, and 
call them intelligible existences (noumena). Now the ques- 
tion arises, whether the pure conceptions of our understand- 
ing do possess significance in respect of these latter, and 
may possibly be a mode of cognizing them. 

But we are met at the very commencement with an am- 
biguity, which may easily occasion great misapprehension. 
The understanding, when it terms an object in a certain re- 
lation phenomenon, at the same time forms out of this rela- 
tion a representation or notion of an object in itself and hence 
believes that it can form also conceptions of such objects. 
Now as the understanding possesses no other fundamental 
conceptions besides the categories, it takes for granted that 
an object considered as a thing in itself must be capable 
of being thought by means of these pure conceptions, and is 
thereby led to hold the perfectly determined conception 
of an intelligible existence, a something out of the sphere 
of our sensibility, for a determinate conception of an exist- 


ence which we can cognize in some way or other by means 
of the understanding. 

If, by the term noumenon, we understand a thing so far 
as it is not an object of our sensuous intuition, thus making 
abstraction of our mode of intuiting it, this is a noumenon 
in the negative sense of the word. But if we understand by 
it an object of a non-sensuous intuition, we in this case assume 
a peculiar mode of intuition, an intellectual intuition, to wit, 
which does not, however, belong to us, of the very possibil- 
ity of which we have no notion — and this is a noumenon 
in the positive sense. 

The doctrine of sensibility is also the doctrine of noumena 
in the negative sense, that is, of things which the understand- 
ing is obliged to cogitate apart from any relation to our mode 
of intuition, consequently not as mere phenomena, but as 
things in themselves. But the understanding at the same 
time comprehends that it cannot employ its categories for 
the consideration of things in themselves, because these pos- 
sess significance only in relation to the unity of intuitions 
in space and time, and that they are competent to determine 
this unity by means of general a priori connecting concep- 
tions only on account of the pure ideality of space and time. 
Where this unity of time is not to be met with, as is the case 
with noumena, the whole use, indeed the whole meaning of 
the categories is entirely lost, for even the possibility of 
things to correspond to the categories is in this case incom- 
prehensible. On this point, I need only refer the reader to 
what I have said at the commencement of the General Re- 
mark appended to the foregoing chapter. Now, the possi- 
bility of a thing can never be proved from the fact that the 
conception of it is not self -contradictory, but only by means 
of an intuition corresponding to the conception. If, there- 
fore, we wish to apply the categories to objects which cannot 
be regarded as phenomena, we must have an intuition di£Eer- 
ent from the sensuous, and in this case the objects would be 
noumena in the positive sense of the word. Now, as such an 
intuition, that is, an intellectual intuition, is no part of our 


faculty of cognition, it is absolutely impossible for the cate- 
gories to possess any application beyond the limits of expe- 
rience. It may be true that there are intelligible existences 
to whicb our faculty of sensuous intuition has no relation, 
and cannot be applied, but our conceptions of the under- 
standing, as mere forms of thought for our sensuous in- 
tuition, do not extend to these. What, therefore, we call 
noumenon, must be understood by us as such in a negative 

If I take away from an empirical intuition all thought 
(by means of the categories), there remains no cognition of 
any object; for by means of mere intuition nothing is cogi- 
tated, and from the existence of such or such an aflfection 
of sensibility in me, it does not follow that this affection 
or representation has any relation to an object without me. 
But if I take away all intuition, there still remains the form 
of thought, that is, the mode of determining an object for 
the manifold of a possible intuition. Thus the categories 
do in some measure really extend further than sensuous in- 
tuition, inasmuch as they think objects in general, without 
regard to the mode (of sensibility) in which these objects are 
given. But they do not for this reason apply to and deter- 
mine a wider sphere of objects, because we cannot assume 
that such can be given, without presupposing the possibility 
of another than the sensuous mode of intuition, a supposition 
we are not justified in making. 

I call a conception problematical which contains in itself 
no contradiction, and which is connected with other cog- 
nitions as a limitation of given conceptions, but whose 
i)bjective reality cannot be cognized in any manner. The 
conception of a noumenon, that is, of a thing which must 
be cogitated not as an object of sense, but as a thing in 
itself (solely through the pure understanding) is not self- 
contradictory, for we are not entitled to maintain that sensi- 
bility is the only possible mode of intuition. Nay, further, 
this conception is necessary to restrain sensuous intuition 
within the bounds of phenomena, and thus to limit the 


objective validity of sensuous cognition; for things in them- 
selves, which lie beyond its province, are called noumena, 
for the very purpose of indicating that this cognition does 
not extend its application to all that the understanding 
thinks. But, after ail, the possibility of such noumena is 
quite incomprehensible, and beyond the sphere of phenom- 
ena, all is for us a mere void; that is to say, we possess an 
understanding whose province does problematically extend 
beyond this sphere, but we do not possess an intuition, 
indeed, not even the conception of a possible intuition, by 
means of which objects beyond the region of sensibility 
could be given us, and in reference to which the under- 
standing might be employed assertorically. The conception 
of a noumenon is therefore merely a limitative conception, and 
therefore only of negative use. But it is not an arbitrary or 
fictitious notion, but is connected with the limitation of 
sensibility, without, however, being capable of presenting 
us with any positive datum beyond this sphere. 

The division of objects into phenomena and noumena, 
and of the world into a mundus sensihilis and intelligibilis is 
therefore quite inadmissible in a positive sense, although con- 
ceptions do certainly admit of such a division; for the class 
of noumena have no determinate object corresponding to 
them, and cannot therefore possess objective validity. If we 
abandon the senses, how can it be made conceivable that the 
categories (which are the only conceptions that could serve 
as conceptions for noumena) have any sense or meaning 
at all, inasmuch as something more than the mere unity of 
thought, namely, a possible intuition, is requisite for their 
application to an object ? The conception of a noumenon, 
considered as merely problematical, is, however, not only 
admissible, but, as a limitative conception of sensibility, 
absolutely necessary. But, in this case, a noumenon is not 
a particular intelligible object for our understanding; on the 
contrary, the kind of understanding to which it could belong 
is itself a problem, for we cannot form the most distant con- 
ception of the possibility of an understanding which should 


cognize an object, not discursively by means of categories, 
but intuitively in a non-sensuous intuition. Our under- 
standing attains in this way a sort of negative extension. 
That is to say, it is not limited by, but rather limits, sensi- 
bility, by giving the name of noumena to things, not con- 
sidered as phenomena, but as things in themselves. But it 
at the same time prescribes limits to itself, for it confesses 
itself unable to cognize these by means of the categories, and 
hence is compelled to cogitate them merely as an unknown 

I find, however, in the writings of modern authors, an 
entirely difierent use of the expressions, mundus sensihilis 
and infelligibilis,' which quite departs from the meaning of 
the ancients — an acceptation in which, indeed, there is to be 
found no difficulty, but which at the same time depends on 
mere verbal quibbling. According to this meaning, some 
have chosen to call the complex of phenomena, in so far as 
it is intuited, mundus sensihilis, but in so far as the con- 
nection thereof is cogitated according to general laws of 
thought, mundus intelligibilis. Astronomy, in so far as we 
mean by the word the mere observation of the starry heaven, 
may represent the former; a system of astronomy, such as 
the Oopernican or Newtonian, the latter. But such twisting 
of words is a mere sophistical subterfuge, to avoid a difficult 
question, by modifying its meaning to suit our own conven- 
ience. To be sure, understanding and reason are employed 
in the cognition. of phenomena; but the question is, whether 
these can be applied, when the object is not a phenomenon — 
and in this sense we regard it if it is cogitated as given to 
the understanding alone, and not to the senses. The ques- 
tion therefore is, whether over and above the empirical use 
of the understanding, a transcendental use is possible, which 
applies to the noumenon as an object. This question we 
have answered in the negative. 

' We must not translate this expression by intellectual, as is commonly donn 
in German works ; for it is cognitions alone that are intellectual or sensuous. 
Objects of the one or the other mode of intuition ought to be called, however 
harshly it may sound, intelligible or sensible. — Tr. 


When therefore we say, the senses represent objects as 
they appear, the understanding a^ they are, the latter state- 
ment must not be understood in a transcendental, but only 
in an empirical signification, that is, as they must be repre- 
sented in the complete connection of phenomena, and not 
according to what they may be, apart from their relation to 
possible experience, consequently not as objects of the pure 
understanding. For this must ever remain unknown to us. 
Nay, it is also quite unknown to us, whether any such tran- 
scendental or extraordinary cognition is possible under any 
circumstances, at least, whether it is possible by means of 
our categories. Understanding and sensibility, with us, can 
determine objects only in conjunction. If we separate them, 
we have intuitions without conceptions, or conceptions 
without intuitions; in both cases, representations, which we 
cannot apply to any determinate object. 

If, after all our inquiries and explanations, any one still 
hesitates to abandon the mere transcendental use of the cate- 
gories, let him attempt to construct with them a synthetical 
proposition. It would, of course, be unnecessary for this 
purpose to construct an analytical proposition, for that does 
not extend the sphere of the understanding, but, being con- 
cerned only about what is cogitated in the conception itself, 
it leaves it quite undecided whether the conception has any 
relation to objects, or merely indicates the unity of thought 
— complete abstraction being made of the modi in which an 
object may be given: in such a proposition, it is sufficient 
for the understanding to know what lies in the conception — 
to what it applies, is to it indifferent. The attempt must 
therefore be mad® with a synthetical and so-called transcen- 
dental principle, for example. Everything that exists, exists 
as substance, or. Everything that is contingent exists as an 
effect of some other thing, viz., of its cause. Now I ask, 
whence can the understanding draw these synthetical prop- 
ositions, when the conceptions contained therein do not 
relate to possible experience but to things in themselves 
(noumena) ? Where is to be found the third term, which is 


always requisite in a synthetical proposition, -which may 
connect in the same proposition conceptions which have no 
logical (analytical) connection with each other ? The propo- 
sition never will be demonstrated, nay, more, the possibility 
of any such pure assertion never can be shown, without 
making reference to the empirical use of the understanding, 
and thus, ipso facto, completely renouncing pure and non- 
sensuous Judgment. Thus the conception of pure and 
merely intelligible objects is completely void of all princi- 
ples of its application, because we cannot imagine any mode 
in which they might be given, and the problematical thought 
which leaves a place open for them serves only, like a void 
space, to limit the use of empirical principles, without con- 
taining at the same time any other object of cognition be- 
yond their sphere. 



Reflection {refiexio) is not occupied about objects them- 
selves, for the purpose of directly obtaining conceptions of 
them, but is that state of the mind in which we set ourselves 
to discover the subjective conditions under which we obtain 
conceptions. It is the consciousness of the relation of given 
representations to the difiEerent sources or faculties of cogni- 
tion, by which alone their relation to each other can be 
rightly determined. The first question which occurs in con- 
sidering our representations is, to what faculty of cognition 
do they belong ? To the understanding or to the senses ? 
Many judgments are admitted to be true from mere habit or 
inclination; but, because reflection neither precedes nor 
follows, it is held to be a judgment that has its origin in 
the understanding. All judgments do not require examina- 
tion, that is, investigation into the grounds of their truth. 
For, when they are immediately certain (for example, 


Between two points there can be only one straight line), no 
better or less mediate test of their truth can be found than 
that which they themselves contain and express. But all 
judgment, nay, all comparisons require reflection, that is, a 
distinction of the faculty of cognition to which the given 
conceptions belong. The act whereby I compare my repre- 
sentations with the faculty of cognition which originates 
them, and whereby I distinguish whether they are compared 
with each other as belonging to the pure understanding or 
to sensuous intuition, I term transcendental reflection. Now, 
the relations in which conceptions can stand to each other 
are those of identity and difference, agreement and opposition, 
of the internal and external, finally, of the determinable and 
the determining (matter and form). The proper determina- 
tion of these relations rests on the question, to what faculty 
of cognition they subjectively belong, whether to sensibility 
or understanding ? For, on the manner in which we solve 
this question depends the manner in which we must cogitate 
these relations. 

Before constructing any objective judgment, we compare 
the conceptions that are to be placed in the judgment, and 
observe whether there exists identity (of many representa- 
tions in one conception), if a general judgment is to be con- 
structed, or difference, if a particular; whether there is 
agreement when affirmative, and opposition when negative 
judgments are to be constructed, and so on. For this reason 
we ought to call these conceptions, conceptions of com- 
parison (conceptus comparationis). But as, when the ques- 
tion is not as to the logical form, but as to the content of 
conceptions, that is to say, whether the things themselves 
are identical or different, in agreement or opposition, and 
so on, the things can have a twofold relation to our faculty 
of cognition, to wit, a relation either to sensibility or to the 
understanding, and as on this relation depends their relation 
to each other, transcendental reflection, that is, the relation 
of given representations to one or the other faculty of cog- 
BitioUt can alone determine this latter relation. Thus we 


shall not be able to discover -wbetlier the things are identical 
or different, in agreement or opposition, etc., from the mere 
conception of the things by means of comparison {com- 
paratio), bnt only by distinguishing the mode of cognition 
to which they belong, in other words, by means of transcen- 
dental reflection. We may, therefore, with justice say, that 
logical reflection is mere comparison, for in it no account is 
taken of the faculty of cognition to which the giren concep- 
tions belong, and they are consequently, as far as regards 
their origin, to be treated as homogeneous; while transcen- 
dental reflection (which applies to the objects themselves) 
contains the ground of the possibility of objective com- 
parison of representations with each other, and is therefore 
very different from the former, because the faculties of 
cognition to which they belong are not even the same. 
Transcendental reflection is a duty which no one can neglect 
who wishes to establish an a priori judgment upon things. 
We shall now proceed to fulfil this duty, and thereby throw 
not a little light on the question as to the determination of 
the proper business of the understanding. 

1. Identity and Difference. — When an object is presented 
to us several times, but always with the same internal 
determinations {qualitas ei quantitas), it, if an object of pure 
understanding, is always the same, not several things, but 
only one thing {numerica identitas); but if a phenomenon, 
we do not concern ourselves with comparing the conception 
of the thing with the conception of some other, but, although 
they may be in this respect perfectly the same, the difference 
of place at the same time is a sufficient ground for asserting 
the numerical difference of these objects (of sense). Thus, 
in the case of two drops of water, we may make complete 
abstraction of all internal difference (quality and quantity), 
and the fact that they are intuited at the same time in 
different places is sufficient to justify us in holding them to 
be numerically different. Leibnitz regarded phenomena as 
■things in themselves, consequently as intelligihilia, that is, 
objects of pure understanding (although, on account of the 


confused nature of their representations, he gave them the 
name of phenomena), and in this case his principle of the 
indiscernible {principium identatis indiscernibilium) is not to 
be impugned. But, as phenomena are objects of sensibility, 
and, as the understanding, in respect of them, must be 
employed empirically and not purely or transcendentally, 
plurality and numerical diflEerence are given by space itself 
as the condition of external phenomena. For one part of 
space, although it may be perfectly similar and equal to 
another part, is still without it, and for this reason alone is 
different from the latter, which is added to it in order to 
make up a greater space. It follows that this must hold 
good of all things that are in the different parts of space at 
the same time, however similar and equal one may be to 

2. Agreement and Opposition. — When reality is repre- 
sented by the pure understanding {realitas noumenon), op- 
position between realities is incogitable — such a relation, 
that is, that when these realities are connected in one sub- 
ject, they annihilate the effects of each other, and may be 
represented in the formula 3 — 3=0. On the other hand, 
the real in a phenomenon {realitas phenomenon) may very 
well be in mutual opposition, and, when united in the same 
subject, the one may completely or in part annihilate the 
effect or consequence of the other ; as in the case of two mov- 
ing forces in the same straight line drawing or impending a 
point in opposite directions, or in the case of a pleasure 
counterbalancing a certain amount of pain. 

3. The Internal and External. — In an object of the pure 
understanding only that is internal which has no relation (as 
regards its existence) to anything different from itself. On 
the other hand, the internal determinations of a substantia 
phenomenon in space are nothing but relations, and it is itself 
nothing more than a complex of mere relations. Substance 
in space we are cognizant of only through forces operative 
in it, either drawing others toward itself (attraction), or pre- 
venting others from forcing into itself (repulsion and impen- 


etrability). We know no other properties that make up the 
conception of substance phenomenal in space, and which we 
term matter. On the other hand, as an object of the pure 
understanding, every substance must have internal deter- 
minations and forces. But what other internal attributes 
of such an object can I think than those which my internal 
sense presents to me ? — That, to wit, which is either itself 
thought, or something analogous to it. Hence Leibnitz, 
who looked upon things as noumena, after denying them 
everything like external relation, and therefore also compo- 
sition or combination, declared that all substances, even the 
component parts of matter, were simple substances with 
powers of representation, in one word, monads. 

i. Matter and form. — These two conceptions lie at the 
foundation of all other reflection, so inseparably are they 
connected with every mode of exercising the understand- 
ing. The former denotes the determinable in general, the 
second its determination, both in a transcendental sense, 
abstraction being made of every difference in that which is 
given, and of the mode in which it is determined. Logicians 
formerly termed the universal, matter, the specific difference 
of this or that part of the universal, form. In a judgment 
one may call the given conceptions logical matter (for the 
judgment), the relation of these to each other (by means of 
the copula), the form of the judgment. In an object, the 
composite parts thereof {essentialia) are the matter; the mode 
in which they are connected in the object, the form. In re- 
spect to things in general, unlimited reality was regarded as 
the matter of all possibility, the limitation thereof (negation) 
as the form, by which one thing is distinguished from an- 
other according to transcendental conceptions. The under- 
standing demands that something be given (at least in the 
cojiception), in order to be able to determine it in a certain 
manner. Hence, in a conception of the pure understanding, 
the matter precedes the form, and for this reason Leibnitz 
first assumed the existence of things (monads) and of an 
internal power of representation in them, in order to found 


upon this their external relation and the community of their 
state (that is, of their representations). Hence, with him, 
space and time were possible — the former through the rela- 
tion of substances, the latter through the connection of their 
determinations with each other, as causes and effects. And 
so would it really be, if the pure understanding were capable 
of an immediate application to objects, and if space and time 
were determinations of things in themselves. But being 
merely sensuous intuitions, in which we determine all ob- 
jects solely as phenomena, the form of intuition (as a sub- 
jective property of sensibility) must antecede all matter 
(sensations), consequently space and time must antecede 
all phenomena and all data of experience, and rather make 
experience itself possible. But the intellectual philosopher 
could not endure that the form should precede the things 
themselves, and determine their possibility; an objection 
perfectly correct, if we assume that we intuite things as they 
are, although with confused representation. But as sensuous 
intuition is a peculiar subjective condition, which is a priori 
at the foundation of all perception, and the form of which is 
primitive, the form must be given per se, and so far from 
matter (or the things themselves which appear) lying at the 
foundation of experience (as we must conclude, if we judge 
by mere conceptions), the very possibility of itself presup- 
poses, on the contrary, a given formal intuition (space and 


Let me be allowed to term the position which we assign 
to a conception either in the sensibility or in the pure un- 
derstanding, the transcendental place. In this manner, the 
appointment of the position which must be taken by each 
conception according to the difEerence in its use, and the 
directions for determining this place to all conceptions ac- 
cording to rules, would be a transcendental topic, a doctrine 
which would thoroughly shield us from the surreptitious 


devices of the pure understanding and the delusions which 
thence arise, as it would always distinguish to what faculty 
of cognition each conception properly belonged. Every 
conception, every title, under which many cognitions rank 
together, may be called a logical place. Upon this is based 
the logical topic of Aristotle, of which teachers and rhetori- 
cians could avail themselves, in order, under certain titles of 
thought, to observe what would best suit the matter they 
had to treat, and thus enable themselves to quibble and talk 
with fluency and an appearance of profundity. 

Transcendental topic, on the contrary, contains nothing 
more than the above-mentioned four titles of all comparison 
and distinction, which differ from categories in this respect, 
that they do not represent the object according to that which 
constitutes its conception (quantity, reality), but set forth 
merely the comparison of representations, which precedes 
our conceptions of things. But this comparison requires a 
previous reflection, that is, a determination of the place to 
which the representations of the things which are compared 
belong, whether, to wit, they are cogitated by the pure 
understanding, or given by sensibility. 

Conceptions may be logically compared without the 
trouble of inquiring to what faculty their objects belong, 
whether as noumena to the tinderstanding, or as phenom- 
ena to sensibility. If, however, we wish to employ these 
conceptions in respect of objects, previous transcendental 
reflection is necessary. Without this reflection I should 
make a very unsafe use of these conceptions, and construct 
pretended synthetical propositions which critical reason can- 
not acknowledge, and which are based solely upon a tran- 
scendental amphiboly, that is, tipon a substitution of an 
object of pure understanding for a phenomenon. 

For want of this doctrine of transcendental topic, and 
consequently deceived by the amphiboly of the conceptions 
of reflection, the celebrated Leibnitz constructed an intellect- 
ual system of the world, or rather, believed himself competent 
to cognize the internal nature of things, by comparing all 


objects merely with the understanding and tlie abstract 
formal conceptions of thought. Oar table of the concep- 
tions of reflection gives us the unexpected advantage of 
being able to exhibit the distinctive peculiarities of bis 
system in all its parts, and at the same time of exposing 
the fundamental principle of this peculiar mode of thought, 
which rested upon naught but a misconception. He com- 
pared all things with each other merely by means of concep- 
tions, and naturally found no other differences than those 
by which the understanding distinguishes its pure concep- 
tions one from another. The conditions of sensuous in- 
tuition, which contain in themselves their own means of 
distinction, he did not look upon as primitive, because 
sensibility was to him but a confused mode of representa- 
tion, and not any particular source of representations. A 
phenomenon was for him the representation of the thing in 
itself, although distinguished from cognition by the under- 
standing only in respect of the logical form — the former 
with its usual want of analysis containing, according to him, 
a certain mixture of collateral representations in its concep- 
tion of a thing, which it is the duty of the understanding to 
separate and distinguish. In one word, Leibnitz intellectual- 
ized phenomena, just as Locke, in his system of noogony (if I 
may be allowed to make use of such expressions), sensualized 
the conceptions of the understanding, that is to say, declared 
them to be nothing more than empirical or abstract concep- 
tions of reflection. Instead of seeking in the understand- 
ing and sensibility two different sources of representations, 
wbich, however, can present us with objective judgments of 
things only in conjunction, each of these great men recognized 
but one of these faculties, which, in their opinion, applied 
immediately to things in themselves, the other having no 
duty but that of confusing or arranging the representations 
of the former. 

Accordingly, the objects of sense were compared by 
Leibnitz as things in general merely in the understanding. 

1st. He compares them in regard to their identity or dif' 


ference — as judged by the understanding. As, therefore, he 
considered merely the conceptions of objects, and not their 
position in intuition, in which alone objects can be given, 
and left quite out of sight the transcendental locale of these 
conceptions — whether, that is, their object ought to be classed 
among phenomena, or among things in themselves, it was to 
be expected that he should extend the application of the 
principle of indiscernibles, which is valid solely of concep- 
tions of things in general, to objects of sense (mundus phe- 
nomenon), and that he should believe that he had thereby 
contributed in no small degree to extend our knowledge of 
nature. In truth, if I cognize in all its inner determinations 
a drop of water as a thing in itself, I cannot look upon one 
drop as different from another, if the conception of the one 
is completely identical with that of the other. But if it is 
a phenomenon in space, it has a place not merely in the 
understanding (among conceptions), but also in sensuous 
external intuition (in space), and in this case, the physical 
locale is a matter of indifference in regard to the internal 
determinations of things, and one place, B, may contain a 
thing which is perfectly similar and equal to another in 
a place. A, just as well as if the two things were in every 
respect different from each other. Difference of place with- 
out any other conditions, makes the plurality and distinc- 
tion of objects as phenomena, not only possible in itself, but 
even necessary. Consequently, the above so-called law is 
not a law of nature. It is merely an analytical rule for the 
comparison of things by means of mere conceptions. 

2d. The principle, "Eealities (as simple affirmations) 
never logically contradict each other," is a proposition 
perfectly true respecting the relation of conceptions, but, 
whether as regards nature, or things in themselves (of which 
we have not the slightest conception), is without any the 
least meaning. For real opposition, in which A — B is=0, 
exists everywhere, an opposition, that is, in which one real- 
ity united with another in the same subject annihilates the 
effects of the other — a fact which is constantly brought be- 


iore our eyes by tlie different antagonistic actions and oper- 
ations in nature, which, nevertheless, as depending on real 
forces, must be called realitates phenomena. General me- 
chanics can even present us with the empirical condition of 
this opposition in an a priori rule, as it directs its attention 
to the opposition in the direction of forces — a condition of 
which the transcendental conception of reality can tell us 
nothing. Although M. Leibnitz did not announce this prop- 
osition with precisely the pomp of a new principle, he yet 
employed it for the establishment of new propositions, and 
his followers introduced it into their Leibnitzio-Woliian 
system of philosophy. According to this principle, for ex- 
ample, all evils are but consequences of the limited nature 
of created beings, that is, negations, because these are the 
only opposite of reality. (In the mere conception of a thing 
in general this is really the case, but not in things as phe- 
nomena.) In like manner, the upholders of this system 
deem it not only possible, but natural also, to connect and 
unite all reality in one being, because they acknowledge no 
other sort of opposition than that of contradiction (by which 
the conception itself of a thing is annihilated), and find 
themselves unable to conceive an opposition of reciprocal 
destruction, so to speak, in which one real cause destroys 
the effect of another, and the conditions of whose represen- 
tation we meet with only in sensibility. 

3d. The Leibnitzian Monadology has really no better 
foundation than on this philosopher's mode of falsely rep- 
resenting the difference of the internal and external solely 
in relation to the understanding. Substances, in general, 
must have something inward^ which is therefore free from 
external relations, consequently from that of composition 
also. The simple — that which can be represented by a unit 
— is therefore the foundation of that which is internal in 
things in themselves. The internal state of substances can- 
not therefore consist in place, shape, contact, or motion, de- 
terminations which are all external relations, and we can 
ascribe to them no other than that whereby we internally 


determine our faculty of sense itself, that is to say, the state 
of representation. Thus, then, were constructed the monads, 
which were to form the elements of the universe, the active 
force of which consists in representation, the effects of this 
force "being thus entirely confined to themselves. 

For the same reason, his view of the possible community 
of substances could not represent it but as a predetermined 
harmony, and by no means as a physical influence. For 
inasmuch as everything is occupied only internally, that is, 
with its own representations, the state of the representations 
of one substance could not stand in active and living con- 
nection with that of another, but some third cause operating 
on all without exception was necessary to make the difiEerent 
states correspond with one another. And this did not hap- 
pen by means of assistance applied in each particular case 
{systema assistentice), but through the unity of the idea of a 
cause occupied and connected with all substances, in which 
they necessarily receive, according to the Leibnitzian school, 
their existence and permanence, consequently also reciprocal 
correspondence, according to universal laws. 

4th. This philosopher's celebrated doctrine of space and 
time, in which he intellectualized these forms of sensibility, 
originated in the same delusion of transcendental reflection. 
If I attempt to represent, by the mere understanding, the 
external relations of things, I can do so only by employing 
the conception of their reciprocal action, and if I wish to 
connect one state of the same thing with another state, I 
must avail myself of the notion of the order of cause and 
effect. And thus Leibnitz regarded space as a certain order 
in the community of substances, and time as the dynamical 
sequence of their states. That which space and time possess 
proper to themselves and independent of things, he ascribed 
to a necessary confusion in our conceptions of them, whereby 
that which is a mere form of dynamical relations is held to 
be a self -existent intuition, antecedent even to things them- 
selves. Thus space and time were the intelligible form of 
the connection of things (substances and their states) in 


themselves. But things were intelligible substances [sub- 
stantiae noumena). At the same time, he made these con- 
ceptions valid of phenomena, because he did not allow to 
sensibility a peculiar mode of intuition, but sought all, even 
the empirical representation of objects, in the understanding, 
and left to sense naught but the despicable task of confusing 
and disarranging the representations of the former. 

But even if we could frame any synthetical proposition 
concerning things in themselves by means of the pure 
understanding (which is impossible), it could not apply to 
phenomena, which do not represent things in themselves. 
In such a case I should be obliged in transcendental reflec- 
tion to compare my conceptions only under the conditions 
of sensibility, and so space and time would not be determi- 
nations of things in themselves, but of phenomena. What 
things may be in themselves, I know not, and need not 
know, because a thing is never presented to me otherwise 
than as a phenomenon. 

I must adopt the same mode of procedure with the other 
conceptions of reflection. Matter is substantia phenomenon. 
That in it which is internal I seek to discover in all parts 
of space which it occupies, and in all the functions and 
operations it performs, and which are indeed never anything 
but phenomena of the external sense. I cannot therefore 
find anything that is absolutely, but only what is compara- 
tively internal, and which itseK consists of external relations. 
The absolutely internal in matter, and as it should be ac- 
cording to the pure understanding, is a mere chimera, for 
matter is not an object for the pure understanding. But 
the transcendental object, which is the foundation of the 
phenomenon which we call matter, is a mere nescio quid, 
the nature of which we could not understand, even though 
some one were found able to tell us. For we can understand 
nothing that does not bring with it something in intuition 
corresponding to the expressions employed. If by the com- 
plaint of being unable to perceive the internal nature of things, 
it is meant that we do not comprehend by the pure under- 


standing what the things which appear to us may be in 
themselves, it is a silly and unreasonable complaint; for 
those who talk thus, really desire that we should be able to 
cognize, consequently to intuite things without senses, and 
therefore wish that we possessed a faculty of cognition 
perfectly different from the human faculty, not merely in 
degree, but even as regards intuition and the mode thereof, 
so that thus we should not be men, but belong to a class of 
beings, the possibility of whose existence, much less their 
nature and constitution, we have no means of cognizing. 
By observation and analysis of phenomena we penetrate into 
the interior of nature, and no one can say what progress this 
knowledge may make in time. But those transcendental 
questions which pass beyond the limits of nature we could 
never answer, even although all nature were laid open to us, 
because we have not the power of observing our own mind 
with any other intuition than that of our internal sense. 
For herein lies the mystery of the origin and source of our 
faculty of sensibility. Its application to an object, and the 
transcendental ground of this unity of subjective and objec- 
tive, lie too deeply concealed for us', who cognize ourselves 
only through the internal sense, consequently as phenomena, 
to be able to discover in our existence anything but phe- 
nomena, the non-sensuous cause of which we at the same 
time earnestly desire to penetrate to. 

The great utility of this critique of conclusions arnved 
at by the processes of mere reflection, consists in its clear 
demonstration of the nullity of all conclusions respecting 
objects which are compared with each other in the under- 
standing alone, while it at the same time confirms what we 
particularly insisted on, namely, that, although phenomena 
are not included as things in themselves among the objects 
of the pure understanding, they are nevertheless the only 
things by which our cognition can possess objective reality, 
that is to say, which give us intuitions to correspond with 
our conceptions. 

When we reflect in a purely logical manner, we do noth- 


ing more tlian compare conceptions in our understanding, to 
discover whether both hare the same content, whether they 
are self- contradictory or not, whether anything is contained 
in either conception, which of the two is given, and which 
is merely a mode of thinJring that given. But if I apply 
these conceptions to an object in general (in the transcen- 
dental sense), without first determining whether it is an 
object of sensuous or intellectual intuition, certain limita- 
tions present themselves, which forbid us to pass beyond 
the conceptions, and render all empirical use of them im- 
possible. And thus these limitations prove, that the rep- 
resentation of an object as a thing in general is not only 
insufficient, but, without sensuous letermi.^ation and inde- 
pendently of empirical conditions, self-contradictory ; that we 
must therefore make abstraction of all objects, as in logic, 
or, admitting them, m^ust think them under conditions of 
sensuous intuition; that, consequently, the intelligible re- 
quires an altogether peculiar intuition, which we do not 
possess, and in the absence of which it is for us nothing; 
while, on the other hand, phenomena cannot be objects in 
themselves. For, when I merely think things in general, 
the difference in their external relations cannot constitute 
a difference in the things themselves; on the contrary, the 
former presupposes the latter, and if the conception of one 
of two things is not internally different from that of the 
other, I am merely thinking the same thing in different rela- 
tions. Further, by the addition of one affirmation (reality) 
to the other, the positive therein is really augmented, and 
nothing is abstracted or withdrawn from it; hence the real 
in things cannot be in contradiction with or opposition to 
itself — and so on. 

The true use of the conceptions of reflection in the em- 
ployment of the understanding has, as we have shown, been 
so misconceived by Leibnitz, one of the most acute philoso- 
phers of either ancient or modern times, that he has been 
misled into the construction of a baseless system of Intel- 


leetual cognition, which professes to determine its objects 
without the intervention of the senses. For this reason, the 
exposition of the cause of the amphiboly of these concep- 
tions, as the origin of these false principles, is of great 
utility in determining with certainty the proper limits of 
the understanding. 

It is right to say, whatever is affirmed or denied of the 
whole of a conception can be affirmed or denied of any part 
of it {dictum de omni et nuUo); but it would be absurd so to 
alter this logical proposition, as to say, whatever is not 
contained in a general conception is likewise not contained 
in the particular conceptions which rank under it; for the 
latter are particular conceptions, for the very reason that 
their content is greater than that which is cogitated in the 
general conception. And yet the whole intellectual system 
of Leibnitz is based upon this false principle, and with it 
must necessarily fall to the ground, together with all the 
ambiguous principles in reference to the employment of 
the understanding which have thence originated. 

Leibnitz's principle of the identity of indiscernibles or 
indistinguishables is really based on the presupposition, 
that, if in the conception of a thing a certain distinction is 
not to be found, it is also not to be met with in things them- 
selves; that, consequently, all things are completely iden- 
tical (numero eadern) which are not distinguishable from 
each other (as to quality or quantity) in our conceptions of 
them. But, as in the mere conception of anything abstrac- 
tion has been made of many necessary conditions of intui- 
tion, that of which abstraction has been made is rashly held 
to be non-existent, and nothing is attributed to the thing 
but what is contained in its conception. 

The conception of a cubic foot of space, however I may 
think it, is in itself completely identical. But two cubic 
feet in space are nevertheless distinct from each other from 
the sole fact of their being in different places (they are 
numero diver say, and these places are conditions of intuition, 
wherein the object of this conception is given, and which do 
XI — Science — 12 - 


not belong to the conception, but to the faculty of sensi- 
bility. In like manner, there is in the conception of a thing 
no contradiction when a negative is not connected with an 
affirmative; and merely affirmative conceptions oannot, in 
conjunction, produce any negation. But in sensuous intui- 
tion, wherein reality (take, for example, motion) is given, 
we find conditions (opposite directions) — of which abstrac- 
tion has been made in the conception of motion in general — 
which render possible a contradiction or opposition (not in- 
deed of a logical kind) — and which from pure positives pro- 
duce zero — 0. We are therefore not justified in saying, 
that all reality is in perfect agreement and harmony, because 
no contradiction is discoverable among its conceptions.' 
According to mere conceptions, that which is internal is 
the substratum of all relations or external determinations. 
When, therefore, I abstract all conditions of intuition, and 
confine myself solely to the conception of a thing in general, 
I can make abstraction of all external relations, and there 
must nevertheless remain a conception of that which indi- 
cates no relation, but merely internal determinations. Now 
it seems to follow, that in everything (substance) there is 
something which is absolutely internal, and which antecedes 
all external determinations, inasmuch as it renders them 
possible; and that therefore this substratum is something 
which does not contain any external relations, and is conse- 
quently simple (for corporeal things are never anything but 
relations, at least of their parts external to each other); and 
inasmuch as we know of no other absolutely internal deter- 
minations than those of the internal sense, this substratum 
is not only simple, but also, analogously with our internal 
sense, determined through representations, that is to say, all 

' If any one wishes here to have recourse to the usual subterfuge, and to 
say, that at least realitates noumena cannot be ' in opposition to each other, it 
will be requisite for him to adduce an example of this pure and non-sensuous 
reality, that it may be understood whether the notion represents something or 
nothing. But an example cannot be found except in experience, which never 
presents to us anything more than phenomena; and thus the proposition means 
nothing more than that the conception which contains only affirmatives, does 
not contain anything negative — a proposition nobody ever doubted. 


things are properly monads, or simple beings endowed with 
the power of representation. Now all this would be per- 
fectly correct, if the conception of a thing were the only 
necessary condition of the presentation of objects of external 
intuition. It is, on the contrary, manifest that a permanent 
phenomenon in space (impenetrable extension) can contain 
mere relations, and nothing that is absolutely internal, and 
yet be the primary substratum of all external perception. 
By mere conceptions I cannot think anything external, with- 
out, at the same time, thinking something internal, for the 
reason that conceptions of relations presuppose given things, 
and without these are impossible. But, as in intuition there 
is something (that is, space, which, with all it contains, con- 
sists of purely formal, or, indeed, real relations) which is not 
found in the mere conception of a thing in general, and this 
presents to us the substratum which could not be cognized 
through conceptions alone, I cannot say: because a thing 
cannot be represented hy mere conceptions without something 
absolutely internal, there is also, in the things themselves 
which are contained under these conceptions, and in their 
intuition, nothing external to which something absolutely 
internal does not serve as the foundation. For, when we 
have made abstraction of all the conditions of intuition, 
there certainly remains in the mere conception nothing but 
the internal in general, through which alone the external is 
possible. But this necessity, which is grounded upon ab- 
straction alone, does not obtain in the case of things them- 
selves, in so far as they are given in intuition with such 
determinations as express mere relations, without having 
anything internal as their foundation; for they are not 
things in themselves, but only phenomena. What we cog- 
nize in matter is nothing but relations (what we call itt 
internal determinations are but comparatively internal). 
But there are some self-subsistent and permanent, through 
which a determined object is given. That I, when abstrac- 
tion is made of these relations, have nothing more to think, 
does not destroy the conception of a thing as phenomenon, 


nor the conception of an object in abstracto, but it does away 
with the possibility of an object that is determinable ac- 
cording to mere conceptions, that is, of a noumenon. It is 
certainly startling to hear that a thing consists solely of 
relations ; but this thing is simply a phenomenon, and can- 
not be cogitated by means of the mere categories: it does 
itself consist in the mere relation of something in general to 
the senses. In the same way, we cannot cogitate relations 
of things in ahstracto, if we commence with conceptions 
alone, in any other manner than that one is the cause of 
determinations in the other ; for that is itself the conception 
of the understanding or category of relation. But, as in this 
case we make abstraction of all intuition, we lose altogether 
the mode in which the manifold determines to each of its 
parts its place, that is, the form of sensibility (space) ; and 
yet this mode antecedes all empirical causality. 

If by intelligible objects we understand things which can 
be thought by means of the pure categories, without the 
need of the schemata of sensibility, such objects are impos- 
sible. For the condition of the objective use of all our 
conceptions of understanding is the mode of our sensuous 
intuition, whereby objects are given; and, if we make ab- 
straction of the latter, the former can have no relation to an 
object. And even if we should suppose a different kind 
of intuition from our own, still our functions of thought 
would have no use or signification in respect thereof. But 
if we understand by the term, objects of a non-sensuous 
intuition, in respect of which our categories are not valid, 
and of which we can accordingly have no knowledge (neither 
intuition nor conception), in this merely negative sense 
noumena must be admitted. For this is no more than say- 
ing that our mode of intuition is not applicable to all things, 
but only to objects of our senses, that consequently its ob- 
jective validity is limited, and that room is therefore left 
for another kind of intuition, and thus also for things that 
may be objects of it. But in this sense the conception of a 
noumenon is problematical, that is to say, it is the notion of 


a thing of which we can neither say that it is possible, nor 
that it is impossible, inasmuch as we do not know of any 
mode of intuition besides the sensuous, or of any other sort 
of conceptions than the categories — a mode of intuition and 
a kind of conception neither of which is applicable to a 
non-sensuous object. We are on this account incompetent 
to extend the sphere of our objects of thought beyond the 
conditions of our sensibility, and to assume the existence 
of objects of pure thought, that is, of noumena, inasmuch as 
these have no true positive signification. For it must be 
confessed of the categories, that they are not of themselves 
sufficient for the cognition of things in themselves, and with- 
out the data of sensibility are mere subjective forms of the 
unity of the understanding. Thought is certainly not a prod- 
uct of the senses, and in so far is not limited by them, but 
it does not therefore follow that it may be employed purely 
and without the intervention of sensibility, for it would then 
be without reference to an object. And we cannot call a 
noumenon an object of pure thought; for the representation 
thereof is but the problematical conception of an object for 
a perfectly different intuition and a perfectly different under- 
standing from ours, both of which are consequently them- 
selves problematical. The conception of a noumenon is 
therefore not the conception of an object, but merely a 
problematical conception inseparably connected with the 
limitation of our sensibility. That is to say, this conception 
contains the answer to the question — Are there objects quite 
unconnected with, and independent of, our intuition? — a 
question to which only an indeterminate answer can be 
given. That answer is: Inasmuch as sensuous intuition 
does not apply to all things without distinction, there re- 
mains room for other and different objects. The existence 
of these problematical objects is therefore not absolutely 
denied, in the absence of a determinate conception of them, 
but, as no category is valid in respect of them, neither must 
they be admitted as objects for our understanding. 

Understanding accordingly limits sensibility, without at 


the same time enlarging its own field. While, moreover, it 
forbids sensibility to apply its forms and modes to things 
in themselves and restricts it to the sphere of phenomena, it 
cogitates an object in itself, only, however, as a transcen- 
dental object, which is the cause of a phenomenon (conse- 
quently not itself a phenomenon), and which cannot be 
thought either as a quantity or as reality, or as substance 
(because these conceptions always require sensuous forms 
in which to determine an object) — an object, therefore, of 
which we are quite unable to say whether it can be met with 
in ourselves or out of us, whether it would be annihilated 
together with sensibility, or, if this were taken away, would 
continue to exist. If we wish to call this object a noumenon, 
because the representation of it is non-sensuous, we are at 
liberty to do so. But as we can apply to it none of the con- 
ceptions of our understanding, the representation is for us 
quite void, and is available only for the indication of the 
limits of our sensuous intuition, thereby leaving at the same 
time an empty space, which we are competent to fill by 
the aid neither of possible experience, nor of the pure 

The Critique of the pure understanding, accordingly, does 
not permit us to create for ourselves a new field of objects 
beyond those which are presented to us as phenomena, and 
to stray into intelligible worlds; nay, it does not evea allow 
us to endeavor to form so much as a conception of them. 
The specious error which leads to this — and which is a per- 
fectly excusable one — lies in the fact that the employment 
of the understanding, contrary to its proper purpose and 
destination, is made transcendental, and objects, that is, pos- 
sible intuitions, are made to regulate themselves according 
to conceptions, instead of the conceptions arranging them- 
selves according to the intuitions, on which alone their own 
objective validity rests. Now the reason of this again is, 
that apperception, and with it, thought, antecedes all pos- 
sible determinate arrangement of representations. Accord- 
ingly we think something in general, and determine it on 


the one hand sensuously, but, on the other, distinguish 
the general and in abstracto represented object from this 
particular mode of intuiting it. In this case there remains 
a mode of determining the object by mere thought, which 
is really but a logical form without content, which, how- 
ever, seems to us to be a mode of the existence of the 
object in itself (noumenon), without regard to intuition, 
which is limited to our senses. 

Before ending this transcendental analytic, we must make 
an addition, which, although in itself of no particular impor- 
tance, seems to be necessary to the completeness of the sys- 
tem. The highest conception, with which a transcendental 
philosophy commonly begins, is the division into possible 
and impossible. But as all division presupposes a divided 
conception, a still higher one must exist, and this is the con- 
ception of an object in general — problematically understood, 
and without its being decided whether it is something or 
nothing. As the categories are the only conceptions, which 
apply to objects in general, the distinguishing of an object, 
whether it is something or nothing, must proceed according 
to the order and direction of the categories. 

1. To the categories of quantity, that is, the conceptions 
of all, many, and one, the conception which annihilates all, 
that is, the conception of none is opposed. And thus the 
object of a conception, to which no intuition can be found 
to correspond, is=nothing. That is, it is a conception with- 
out an object {ens rationis), like noumena, which cannot be 
considered possible in the sphere of reality, though they 
must not therefore be held to be impossible — or like certain 
new fundamental forces in matter, the existence of which is 
cogitable without contradiction, though, as examples from 
experience are not forthcoming, they must not be regarded 
as possible. 

2. Reality is something; negation is nothing, that is, a 
conception of the absence of an object, as cold, a shadow 
{nihil privativum). 


3. The mere form of intuition, without sabstance, is in 
itself no object, but the merely formal condition of an object 
(as phenomenon), as pure space and pure time. These are 
certainly something, as forms of intuition, but are not them- 
selves objects which are intuited (ens imaginarium). 

4. The object of a conception which is self-contradictory, 
is nothing, because the conception is nothing — is impossible, 
as a figure composed of two straight lines {nihil negativurri). 

The table of this division of the conception of nothing 
(the corresponding division of the conception of something 
does not require special description) must therefore be 
arranged as follows: 




Empty conception without object 

{ens rationisy 

2 3 

Empty object of a conception Empty intuition without object 

{nihil privativum). {ens imaginarium). 


Empty object without conception 

{nihil negativuin). 

We see that the ens rationis is distinguished from the 
nihil negativum or pure nothing by the consideration, that 
the former must not be reckoned among possibilities, be- 
cause it is a mere fiction — though not self-contradictory, 
while the latter is completely opposed to all possibility, 
inasmuch as the conception annihilates itself. Both, how- 
ever, are empty conceptions. On the other hand, the nihil 
privativum, and ens imaginarium are empty data for concep- 
tions. If light be not given to the senses, we cannot repre- 
sent to ourselves darkness, and if extended objects are not 
perceived, we cannot represent space. Neither the negation, 
nor the mere form of intuition can, without something real, 
be an object. 






We termed Dialectic in general a logic of appearance.' 
This does not signify a doctrine oi probability,'' for proba- 
bility is truth, only cognized upon insufficient grounds, and 
though tbe information it gives us is imperfect, it is not 
therefore deceitful. Hence it must not be separated from 
the analytical part of logic. Still less must phenomenon' 
and appearance be held to be identical. For truth or illu- 
sory appearance does not reside in the object, in so far as 
it is intuited, but in the judgment upon the object, in so far 
as it is thought. It is therefore quite correct to say that the 
senses do not err, not because they always judge correctly, 
but because they do not judge at all. Hence truth and error, 
consequently, also, illusory appearance as the cause of error, 
are only to be found in a judgment, that is, in the relation 
of an object to our understanding. In a cognition, which 
completely harmonizes with the laws of the understanding, 
no error can exist. In a representation of the senses — as 
not containing any judgment — there is also no error. But 
no power of nature can of itself deviate from its own laws. 
Hence neither the understanding per se (without the influ- 
ence of another cause), nor the senses per se, would fall into 
error; the former could not, because, if it acts only accord- 
ing to its own laws, the e£fect (the judgment) must necessarily 
accord with these laws. But in accordance with the laws of 
the understanding consists the formal element in all truth. 
In the senses there is no judgment — neither a true nor a 

' Soheia. ' Wahracheinlichkeit. ' Erscheinung. 


false one. But, as we have no- source of cognition besides 
these two, it follows, that error is caused solely by the un- 
observed influence of the sensibility upon the understand- 
ing. And thus it happens that the subjective grounds of a 
judgment blend and are confounded with the objective, and 
cause them to deviate from their proper determination, ' just 
as a body in motion would always of itself proceed in a 
straight line, but if another impetus gives to it a different 
direction, it will then start off into a curvilinear line of mo- 
tion. To distinguish the peculiar action of the understand- 
ing from the power which mingles with it, it is necessary to 
consider an erroneous judgment as the diagonal between two 
forces, that determine the judgment in two different direc- 
tions, which, as it were, form an angle, and to resolve this 
composite operation into the simple ones of the understand- 
ing and the sensibility. In pure a priori judgments this 
must be done by means of transcendental reflection, whereby, 
as has been already shown, each representation has its place 
appointed in the corresponding faculty of cognition, and 
consequently the influence of the one faculty upon the other 
is made apparent. 

It is not at present our business to treat of empirical 
illusory appearance (for example, optical illusion), which 
occurs in the empirical application of otherwise correct rules 
of the understanding, and in which the judgment is misled 
by the influence of imagination. Our purpose is to speak 
of transcendental illusory appearance, which influences prin- 
ciples — that are not even applied to experience, for in this 
case we should possess a sure test of their correctness — but 
which leads us, in disregard of all the warnings of criticism, 
completely beyond the empirical employment of the catego- 
ries, and deludes us with the chimera of an extension of the 
sphere of the pure understanding. We shall term those 
principles, the application of which is confined entirely 

' Sensibility, subjected to the understanding, as the object upon which the 
understanding employs its functions, is the source of real cognitions. But, in 
so far as it exercises an influence upon the action of the understanding, and 
determines it to judgment, sensibility is itself the cause of error. 


within tlie limits of possible experience, immanent; those, 
on the other hand, which transgress these limits, we shall 
call transcendent principles. But by these latter I do not 
understand principles of the transcendental use or misuse of 
the categories, which is in reality a mere fault of the judg- 
ment when not under due restraint from criticism, and there- 
fore not paying sufficient attention to the limits of the sphere 
in which the pure understanding is allowed to exercise its 
functions; but real principles which exhort us to break 
down all those barriers, and to lay claim to a perfectly new 
field of cognition, which recognizes no line of demarcation. 
Thus transcendental and transcendent are not identical terms. 
The principles of the pure understanding, which we have 
already propounded, ought to be of empirical and not of 
transcendental use, that is, they are not applicable to any 
object beyond the sphere of experience. A principle which 
removes these limits, nay, which authorizes us to overstep 
them, is called transcendent. If our criticism can succeed 
in exposing the illusion in these pretended principles, those 
which are limited in their employment to the sphere of expe- 
rience may be called, in opposition to the others, immanent 
principles of the pure understanding. 

Logical illusion, which consists merely in the imitation 
of the form of reason (the illusion in sophistical syllogisms), 
arises entirely from a want of due attention to logical rules. 
So soon as the attention is awakened to the case before us, 
this illusion totally disappears. Transcendental illusion, on 
the contrary, does not cease to exist, even after it has been 
exposed, and its nothingness clearly perceived by means of 
transcendental criticism. — Take, for example, the illusion 
in the proposition, "The world must have a beginning in 
time." — The cause of this is as follows. In our reason, 
subjectively considered as a faculty of human cognition, 
there exist fundamental rules and maxims of its exercise, 
which have completely the appearance of objective princi- 
ples. Ifow from this cause it happens, that the subjective 
necessity of a certain connection of our conceptions, is 


regarded as an objective necessity of the determination of 
things in themselves. This illusion it is impossible to avoid, 
just as we cannot avoid perceiving that the sea appears to be 
higher at a distance than it is near the shore, because we see 
the former by means of higher rays than the latter, or, which 
is a still stronger case, as even the astronomer cannot pre- 
vent himself from seeing the moon larger at its rising than 
some time afterward, although he is not deceived by this 

Transcendental dialectic will therefore content itself with 
exposing the illusory appearance in transcendental judg- 
ments, and gTiarding us against it; but to make it, as in 
the case of logical illusion, entirely disappear and cease 
to be illusion, is utterly beyond its power. For we have 
here to do with a natural and unavoidable illusion, which 
rests upon subjective principles, and imposes these upon 
us as objective, while logical dialectic, in the detection of 
sophisms, has to do merely with an error in the logical con- 
sequence of the propositions, or with an artificially con- 
structed illusion, in imitation of the natural error. There 
is therefore a natural and unavoidable dialectic of pure rea- 
son — not that in which the bungler, from want of the requi- 
site knowledge, involves himself, nor that which the sophist 
devises for the purpose of misleading, but that which is an 
inseparable adjunct of human reason, and which, even after 
its illusions have been exposed, does not cease to deceive, 
and continually to lead reason into momentary errors, which 
it becomes necessary continually to remove. 



A — Of Reason in General 
All our knowledge begins with sense, proceeds thence to 
understanding, and ends with reason, beyond which nothing 
higher can be discovered in the human mind for elaborating 


the matter of intiiition and subjecting it to the highest unity 
of thought. At this stage of our inquiry it is my duty to 
give an explanation of this, the highest faculty of cognition, 
and I confess I find myself here in some difficulty. Of rea- 
son, as of the understanding, there is a merely formal, that 
is, logical use, in which it makes abstraction of all content 
of cognition; but there is also a real use, inasmuch as it 
contains in itself the source of certain conceptions and prin- 
ciples, which it does not borrow either from the senses or 
the understanding. The former faculty has been long de- 
fined by logicians as the faculty of mediate conclusion 
in contradistinction to immediate conclusions {consequentioe 
immediate^); but the nature of the latter, which itself gen- 
erates conceptions, is not to be understood from this defini- 
tion. Now as a division of reason into a logical and a tran- 
scendental faculty presents itself here, it becomes necessary 
to seek for a higher conception of this source of cognition 
which shall comprehend both conceptions. In this we may 
expect, according to the analogy of the conceptions of the 
understanding, that the logical conception will give us the 
key to the transcendental, and that the table of the func- 
tions of the former will present us with the clew to the 
conceptions of reason. 

In the former part of our transcendental logic, we de- 
fined the understanding to be the faculty of rules; reason 
may be distinguished from understanding as the faculty 
of principles. 

The term, principle is ambiguous, and commonly signifies 
merely a cognition that may be employed as a principle ; 
although it is not in itself, and as regards its proper origin, 
entitled to the distinction. Every general proposition, even 
if derived from experience by the process of induction, may 
serve as the major in a syllogism; but it is not for that 
reason a principle. Mathematical axioms (for example, 
there can be only one straight line between two points) 
are general a priori cognitions, and are therefore rightly 
denominated principle^ relatively to the cases which can be 


subsumed under them. But I cannot for this reason say 
that I cognize this property of a straight line from princi- 
ples — I cognize it only in pure intuition. 

Cognition from principles, then, is that cognition in 
which I cognize the particular in the general by means of 
conceptions. Thus every syllogism is a form of the deduc- 
tion of a cognition from a principle. For the major always 
gives a conception, through which everything that is sub- 
sumed under the condition thereof is cognized according to 
a principle. Now as every general cognition may serve 
as the major in a syllogism, and the understanding presents 
us with such general a priori propositions, they may be 
termed principles, in respect of their possible use. 

But if we consider these principles of the pure under- 
standing in relation to their origin, we shall find them to be 
anything rather than cognitions from conceptions. For they 
would not even be possible a priori, if we could not rely on 
the assistance of pure intuition (in mathematics), or on that 
of the conditions of a possible experience. . That everything 
that happens has a cause, cannot be concluded from the 
general conception of that which happens; on the contrary, 
the principle of causality instructs us as to the mode of 
obtaining from that which happens a determinate empiri- 
cal conception. 

Synthetical cognitions from conceptions the understand- 
ing cannot supply, and they alone are entitled to be called 
principles. At the same time, all general propositions may 
be termed comparative principles. 

It has been a long-cherished wish — that (who knows how 
late) may one day be happily accomplished — that the prin- 
ciples of the endless variety of civil laws should be investi- 
gated and exposed; for in this way alone can we find the 
secret of simplifying legislation. But in this case, laws are 
nothing more than limitations of our freedom upon condi- 
tions under which it subsists in perfect harmony with itself ; 
they consequently have for their object that which is com- 
pletely our own work, and of which we ourselves may be 


the cause by means of tliese conceptions. But liow objects 
as things in themselves — how the nature of things is subor- 
dinated to principles and is to be determined according to 
conceptions, is a question which it seems wellnigh impossi- 
ble to answer. Be this, however, as it may — for on this 
point our investigation is yet to be made — ^it is at least 
manifest, from what we have said, that cognition from prin- 
ciples is something very different from cognition by means 
of the understanding, which may indeed precede other cog- 
nitions in the form of a principle, but in itself — ^in so far as 
it is synthetical — is neither based upon mere thought, nor 
contains a general proposition drawn from conceptions alone. 

The understanding may be a faculty for the production 
of unity of phenomena by virtue of rules ; the reason is a 
faculty for the production of unity of rules (of the under- 
standing) under principles. Eeason, therefore, never applies 
directly to experience, or to any sensuous object; its object 
is, on the contrary, the understanding, to the manifold cog- 
nition of which it gives a unity a priori by means of concep- 
tions — a unity which may be called rational unity, and which 
is of a nature very different from that of the unity produced 
by the understanding. 

The above is the general conception of the faculty of 
reason, in so far as it has been possible to make it compre- 
hensible in the absence of examples. These will be given 
in the sequel. 

B — Of the Logical Use of Reason 

A distinction is commonly made between that which is 
immediately cognized and that which is inferred or con- 
cluded. That in a figure which is bounded by three straight 
lines, there are three angles, is an immediate cognition ; but 
that these angles are together equal to two right angles, is 
an inference or conclusion. Now, as we are constantly em- 
ploying this mode of thought, and have thus become quite 
accustomed to it, we no longer remark the above distinction, 
and, as in the case of the so- called deceptions of sense. 


consider as immediately perceived what has really been 
inferred. In every reasoning or syllogism, there is a funda- 
mental proposition, afterward a second drawn from it, and 
finally the conclusion, which connects the truth in the first 
wUh the truth in the second — and that infallibly. If the 
judgment concluded is so contained in the first proposition, 
that it can be deduced from it without the mediation of a 
third notion, the conclusion is called immediate (consequentia 
immediata): ' I prefer the term conclusion of the under- 
standing. But, if in addition to the fundamental cognition, 
a second judgment is necessary for the production of the 
conclusion, it is called a conclusion of the reason. In 
the proposition. All men are mortal, are contained the propo- 
sitions, Some men are mortal, Nothing that is not mortal is a 
man, and these are therefore immediate conclusions from the 
first. On the other hand, the proposition, All the learned 
are mortal, is not contained in the main proposition (for the 
conception of a learned man does not occur in it), and it can 
be deduced from the main proposition only by means of a 
mediating judgment. 

In every syllogism I first cogitate a rule {the major) by 
means of the understanding. In the next place I subsume 
a cognition under the condition of the rule (and this is the 
minor) by means of the judgment. And finally I determine 
my cognition by means of the predicate of the rule (this is 
the conclusio), consequently, I determine it a priori by 
means of the reason. The relations, therefore, which the 
major proposition, as the rule, represents between a cogni- 
tion and its condition, constitute the different kinds of syl- 
logisms. These are just threefold — analogously with all 
judgments, in so far as they differ in the mode of expressing 
the relation of a cognition in the understanding — namely, 
categorical, hypothetical, and disjunctive. 

' A consequentia immediata — if there really be such a thing, and if it be 
not a contradiction in terms — evidently does not belong to the sphere of logic 
proper, the object-matter of which is the syllogism, which always consists of 
three propositions, either in thought or expressed. This indeed is tantamount 
to declaring that there is no such mode of reasoning. — 2V. 


When, as often happens, the conclusion is a judgment 
■which may follow from other given judgments, through 
which a perfectly different object is cogitated, 1 endeavor to 
discover in the understanding whether the assertion in this 
conclusion does not stand under certain conditions according 
to a general rule. If I find such a condition, and if the 
object mentioned in the conclusion can be subsumed under 
the given condition, then this conclusion follows from a rule 
which is also valid for other objects of cognition. From 
this we see that reason endeavors to subject the great variety 
of the cognitions of the understanding to the smallest possi- 
ble number of principles (general conditions), and thus to 
produce in it the highest unity. 

C — Of the Pure Use of Reason 

Can we isolate reason, and, if so, is it in this case a 
peculiar source of conceptions and judgments which spring 
from it alone, and through which it can be applied to ob- 
jects ; or is it merely a subordinate faculty, whose duty it is 
to give a certain form to given cognitions — a form which 
is called logical, and through which the cognitions of the 
understanding are subordinated to each other, and lower 
rules to higher (those, to wit, whose condition comprises in 
its sphere the condition of the others), in so far as this can 
be done by comparison? This is the question which we 
have at present to answer. Manifold variety of rules and 
unity of principles is a requirement of reason, for the pur- 
pose of bringing the understanding into complete accordance 
with itself, just as understanding subjects the manifold 
content of intuition to conceptions, and thereby introduces 
connection into it. But this principle prescribes no law to 
objects, and does not contain any ground of the possibility 
of cognizing, or of determining them as such, but is merely 
a subjective law for the proper arrangement of the content 
of the understanding. The purpose of this law is, by a com- 
parison of the conceptions of the understanding, to reduce 
them to the smallest possible number, although, at the same 


time, it does not justify us in demanding from objects them- 
selves such a uniformity as might contribute to the conven- 
ience and the enlargement of the sphere of the understanding, 
or in expecting that it will itself thus receive from them ob- 
jective validity. In one word, the question is, does reason 
in itself, that is, does pure reason contain a priori synthetical 
principles and rules, and what are those principles ? 

The formal and logical procedure of reason in syllogisms 
gives us sufficient information in regard to the ground on 
which the transcendental principle of reason in its pure 
synthetical cognition will rest. 

1. Eeason, as observed in the syllogistic process, is not 
applicable to intuitions, for the purpose of subjecting them 
to rales — for this is the province of the understanding with 
its categories — but to conceptions and judgments. If pure 
reason does apply to objects and the intuition of them, it 
does so not immediately, but mediately — through the under- 
standing and its judgments, which have a direct relation to 
the senses and their intuition, for the purpose of determining 
their objects. The unity of reason is therefore not the unity 
of a possible experience, but is essentially different from this 
unity, which is that of the understanding. That everything 
which happens has a cause is not a principle cognized and 
prescribed by reason. This principle makes the unity of 
experience possible and borrows nothing from reason, which, 
without a reference to possible experience, could never have 
produced by means of mere conceptions any such syntheti- 
cal unity. 

2. Reason, in its logical use, endeavors to discover the 
general condition of its judgment (the conclusion), and a 
syllogism is itself nothing but a judgment by means of the 
subsumption of its condition under a general rule (the major). 
Now as this rule may itself be subjected to the same process 
of reason, and thus the condition of the condition be sought 
(by means of a prosyllogism) as long as the process can be 
continued, it is very manifest that the peculiar principle of 
reason in its logical use is — to find for the conditioned cog- 


nition of the understandiag the unconditionad whereby the 
unity of the former is completed. 

But this logical maxim cannot be a principle of pure 
reason, unless we admit that, if the conditioned is given, the 
whole series of conditions subordinated to one another — a 
series whicb is consequently itself unconditioned — is also 
given, that is, contained in the object and its connection. 

But this principle of pure reason is evidently synthetical; 
for analytically, the conditioned certainly relates to some 
condition, but not to the unconditioned. From this prin- 
ciple also there must originate different synthetical proposi- 
tions, of which the pure understanding is perfectly ignorant, 
for it has to do only with objects of a possible experience, 
the cognition and synthesis of which is always conditioned. 
The unconditioned, if it does really exist, must be especially 
considered in regard to the determinations which distinguish 
it from whatever is conditioned, and will thus afford us 
material for many a priori synthetical propositions. 

The principles resulting from this highest principle of 
pure reason will, however, be transcendent in relation to 
phenomena, that is to say, it will be impossible to make 
any adequate empirical use of this principle. It is therefore 
completely different from all principles of the understanding, 
the use made of which is entirely immanent, their object and 
purpose being merely the possibility of experience. Now 
our duty in the transcendental dialectic is as follows. To 
discover whether the principle, that the series of conditions 
(in tbe synthesis of phenomena, or of thought in general) 
extends to the unconditioned, i^ objectively true, or not; 
what consequences result therefrom affecting the empirical 
use of the understanding, or rather whether there exists any 
such objectively valid proposition of reason, and whether 
it is not, on the contrary, a merely logical precept which 
directs us to ascend perpetually to still higher conditions, 
to approach completeness in the series of them, and thus to 
introduce into our cognition the highest possible unity of 
reason. We must ascertain, I say, whether this require- 


ment of reason has not been regarded, by a misunderstand- 
ing, as a transcendental principle of pure reason, which 
postulates a thorough completeness in the series of condi- 
tions in objects themselves. We must show, moreover, the 
misconceptions and illusions that intrude into syllogisms, 
the major proposition of which pure reason has supplied — 
a proposition which has perhaps more of the character of a 
peiiiio than of a postulatum — and that proceed from experi- 
ence upward to its conditions. The solution of these prob- 
lems is our task in transcendental dialectic, which we are 
about to expose even at its source, that lies deep in human 
reason. We shall divide it into two parts, the first of which 
will treat of the transcendent conceptions of pure reason, the 
second of transcendent and dialectical syllogisms. 


The conceptions of pure reason — we do not here speak of 
the possibility of them — are not obtained by reflection, but 
by inference or conclusion. The conceptions of under- 
standing are also cogitated a priori antecedently to ex- 
perience, and render it possible; but they contain nothing 
but the unity of reflection upon phenomena, in so far as 
these must necessarily belong to a possible empirical con- 
sciousness. Through them alone are cognition and the 
determination of an object possible. It ia from them, ac- 
cordingly, that we receive material for reasoning, and 
antecedently to them we possess no a priori conceptions of 
objects from which they might be deduced. On the other 
hand, the sole basis of their objective reality consists in the 
necessity imposed on them, as containing the intellectual 
form of all experience, of restricting their application and 
influence to the sphere of experience. 

But the term, conception of reason or rational conception, 


itself indicates that it does not confine itself within the limits 
of experience, because its object-matter is a cognition, of 
which every empirical cognition is but a part — nay, the 
whole of possible experience may be itself but a part of it — 
a cognition to which no actual experience ever fully attains, 
although it does always pertain to it. The aim of rational 
conceptions is the comprehension, as that of the conceptions 
of understanding is the understanding of perceptions. If 
they contain the unconditioned, they relate to that to which 
all experience is subordinate, but which is never itself an 
object of experience — that toward which reason tends in 
all its conclusions from experience, and by the standard 
of which it estimates the degree of their empirical use, but 
which is never itself an element in an empirical synthesis. 
If, notwithstanding, such conceptions possess objective 
validity, they may be called conceptus raiiocinati (concep- 
tions legitimately concluded); in cases where they do not, 
they have been admitted on account of having the appear- 
ance of being correctly concluded, and may be called con- 
ceptus ratiocinantes (sophistical conceptions). But as this 
can only be sufficiently demonstrated in that part of our 
treatise which relates to the dialectical conclusions of reason, 
we shall omit any consideration of it in this place. As we 
called the pure conceptions of the understanding categories, 
we shall also distinguish those of pure reason by a new 
name, and call them transcendental ideas. These terms, 
however, we must in the first place explain and justify. 

Sect. I — 0/ Ideas in General 

Spite of the great wealth of words which European lan- 
guages possess, the thinker finds himself often at a loss for 
an expression exactly suited to his conception, for want of 
which he is unable to make himself intelligible either to 
others or to himself. To coin new words is a pretension 
to legislation in language which is seldom successful ; and, 


before recourse is taken to so desperate an expedient, it is 
advisable to examine the dead and learned languages, witb 
tbe bope and the probability tbat we may there meet 
with some adequate expression of the notion we have in 
our minds. In this case, even if the original meaning of the 
word has become somewhat uncertain, from carelessness or 
want of caution on the part of the authors of it, it is always 
better to adhere to and confirm its proper meaning — even 
although it may be doubtful whether it was formerly used 
in exactly this sense — than to make our labor vain by want 
of sufficient care to render ourselves intelligible. 

For this reason, when it happens that there exists only a 
single word to express a certain conception, and this word, 
in its usual acceptation, is thoroughly adequate to the con- 
ception, the accurate distinction of which from related concep- 
tions is of great importance, we ought not to employ the 
expression improvidently, or, for the sake of variety and 
elegance of style, use it as a synonyme for other cognate 
words. It is our duty, on the contrary, carefully to preserve 
its peculiar signification, as otherwise it easily happens that 
when the attention of the reader is no longer particularly 
attracted to the expression, and it is lost amid the multitude 
of other words of very different import, the thought which it 
conveyed, and which it alone conveyed, is lost with it. 

Plato employed the expression Idea in a way that plainly 
showed he meant by it something which is never derived 
from the senses, but which far transcends even the concep- 
tions of the understanding (with which Aristotle occupied 
himself), inasmuch as in experience nothing perfectly corre- 
sponding to them could be found. Ideas are, according to 
him, archetypes of things themselves, and not merely keys 
to possible experiences, like the categories. In his view 
they flow from the highest reason, by which they have been 
imparted to human reason, which, however, exists no longer 
in its original state, but is obliged with great labor to recall 
by reminiscence — which is: called pbilosophy — the old but 
now sadly obscured ideas. I will not here enter upon any 


literaiy investigation of the sense whicli this sublime philoso- 
plier attached to this expression. I shall content myself 
with remarking that it is nothing unusual, in common con- 
versation as well as in written works, by comparing the 
thoughts which an author has delivered upon a subject, to 
understand him better than he understood himself — inasmuch 
as he may not have sufficiently determined his conception, 
and thus have sometimes spoken, nay even thought, in 
opposition to his own opinions. 

Plato perceived very clearly that our faculty of cognition 
has the feeling of a much higher vocation than that of merely 
spelling out phenomena according to synthetical unity, for 
the purpose of being able to read them as experience, and 
that our reason naturally raises itself to cognitions far too 
elevated to admit of the possibility of an object given by 
experience corresponding to them — cognitions which are 
nevertheless real, and are not mere phantoms of the brain. 

This philosopher found his ideas especially in all that 
is practical,' that is, which rests upon freedom, which in 
its turn ranks under cognitions that are the peculiar product 
of reason. He who would derive from experience the con- 
ceptions of virtue, who would make (as many have really 
done) that, which at best can but serve as an imperfectly 
illustrative example, a model for the formation" of a per- 
fectly adequate idea on the subject, would in fact transform 
virtue into a nonentity changeable according to time and 
circumstance, and utterly incapable of being employed as 
a rule. On the contrary, every one is conscious that, when 
any one is held up to him as a model of virtue, he compares 
this so-called model with the true original which he pos- 
sesses in his own mind, and values him according to this 

' He certainly extended the application of his conception to speculative cog- 
nitions also, provided they were given pure and completely a priori, nay, even 
to mathematics, although this science cannot possess an ohjeot otherwhere than 
in possible experience. I cannot follow him in this, and as little can I follow 
him in his mystical deduction of these ideas, or in his hypostatization of them : 
although, in truth, the elevated and exaggerated language which he employed 
in describing them Is quite capable of an interpretation more subdued and more 
in accordance with fact and the nature of thmgs. 


Standard. But this standard is tlie idea of virtue, in rela- 
tion to which all possible objects of experience are indeed 
serviceable as examples— proofs of the practicability in a 
certain degree of that which the conception of virtue de- 
mands — but certainly not as archetypes. That the actions 
of man will never be in perfect accordance with all the re- 
quirements of the pure ideas of reason, does not prove the 
thought to be chimerical. For only through this idea are 
all judgments as to moral merit or demerit possible; it con- 
sequently lies at the foundation of every approach to moral 
perfection, however far removed from it the obstacles in 
human nature — interminable as to degree — may keep us. 

The Platonic Eepublic has become proverbial as an ex- 
ample — and a striking one — of imaginary perfection, such 
as can exist only in the brain of the idle thinker; and 
Brucker ridicules the philosopher for maintaining that a 
prince can never govern well, unless he is participant in the 
ideas. But we should do better to follow up this thought, 
and, where this admirable thinker leaves us without assist- 
ance, employ new efforts to place it in clearer light, rather 
than carelessly fling it aside as useless, under the very mis- 
erable and pernicious pretext of impracticability. A consti- 
tution of the greatest possible human freedom according to 
laws, by which the liberty of every individual can consist with 
the liberty of every other (not of the greatest possible happi- 
ness, for this follows necessarily from the former), is, to say 
the least, a necessary idea, which must be placed at the 
foundation not only of the first plan of the constitution of 
a state, but of all its laws. And in this, it is not necessary 
at the outset to take account of the obstacles which lie in 
our way — obstacles which perhaps do not necessarily arise 
from the character of human nature, but rather from the 
previous neglect of true ideas in legislation. For there i? 
nothing more pernicious and more unworthy of a philoso- 
pher than the vulgar appeal to a so-called adverse experi- 
ence, which indeed would not have existed, if those insti- 
tutions had been established at the proper time and in 


accordance with ideas; while instead of this, conceptions, 
crude for the very reason that they have been drawn from 
experience, have marred and frustrated all our better views 
and intentions. The more legislation and government are 
in harmony with this idea, the more rare do punishments 
become, and thus it is quite reasonable to maintain, as Plato 
did, that in a perfect state no punishments at all would be 
necessary. Now although a perfect state may never exist, 
the idea is not on that account the less just, which holds up 
this Maximum as the archetype or standard of a constitu- 
tion, in order to bring legislative government always nearer 
and nearer to the greatest possible perfection. For at what 
precise degree human nature must stop in its progress, and 
how wide must be the chasm which must necessarily exist 
between the idea and its realization, are problems which no 
one can or ought to determine — and for this reason, that it 
is the destination of freedom to overstep all assigned limits 
between itself and the idea. 

But not only in that wherein human reason is a real 
causal agent and where ideas are operative causes (of actions 
and their objects), that is to say, in the region of ethics, but 
also in regard to nature herself, Plato saw clear proofs of an 
origin from ideas. A plant, an animal, the regular order of 
nature — probably also the disposition of the whole universe 
— give manifest evidence that they are possible only by 
means of and according to ideas; that, indeed, no one crea- 
ture, under the individual conditions of its existence, per- 
fectly harmonizes with the idea of the most perfect of its 
kind — just as little as man with the idea of humanity, which 
nevertheless he bears in his soul as the archetypal standard 
of his actions; that, notwithstanding, these ideas are in the 
highest sense individually, unchangeably and completely 
determined, and are the original causes of things; and that 
the totality of connected objects in the universe is alone 
fully adequate to that idea. Setting aside the exaggerations 
of expression in the writings of this philosopher, the mental 
power exhibited in this ascent from the ectypal mode of re- 

XI — Science — 13 


garding the physical world to the architectonic connection 
thereof according to ends, that is, ideas, is an effort vrhich 
deserves imitation and claims respect. But as regards the 
principles of ethics, of legislation and of religion, spheres in 
which ideas alone render experience possible, although they 
never attain to full expression therein, he has vindicated for 
himself a position of peculiar merit, which is not appreciated 
only because it is judged by the very empirical rules, the 
validity of which as principles is destroyed by ideas. For 
as regards nature, experience presents us with rules and is 
the source of truth, but in relation to ethical laws experience 
is the parent of illusion, and it is in the highest degree rep- 
rehensible to limit or to deduce the laws which dictate what 
I ought to do, from what is done. 

We must, however, omit the consideration of these 
important subjects, the development of which is in reality 
the peculiar duty and dignity of philosophy, and confine 
ourselves for the present to the more humble but not less 
useful task of preparing a firm foundation for those majes- 
tic edifices of moral science. For this foundation has been 
hitherto insecure from the many subterranean passages which 
reason in its confident but vain search for treasures has made 
in all directions. Our present duty is to make ourselves per- 
fectly acquainted with the transcendental use made of pure 
reason, its principles and ideas, that we may be able prop- 
erly to determine and value its influence and real worth. 
But before bringing these introductory remarks to a close, 
I beg those who really have philosophy at heart — and their 
number is but small — if they shall find themselves convinced 
by the considerations following, as well as by those above, to 
exert themselves to preserve to the expression idea its origi- 
nal signification, and to take care that it be not lost among 
those other expressions by which all sorts of representations 
are loosely designated — that the interests of science may not 
thereby suffer. We are in no want of words to denominate 
adequately every mode of representation, without the neces- 
sity of encroaching upon terms which are proper to others. 


The following is a graduated list of them. The genus is 
representation in general (representatio). Under it stands 
representation with consciousness (perceptio). A perception 
which relates solely to the subject as a modification of its 
state, is a sensation {sensatio), an objective perception is a 
cognition {cognitio). A cognition is either an intuition or 
a conception (intuitus vel conceptus). The former has an im- 
mediate relation to the object and is singular and indi- 
vidual; the latter has but a mediate relation, by means of 
a characteristic mark which may be common to several 
things. A conception is either empirical ot pure. A pure 
conception, in so far as it has its origin in the understanding 
alone, and is not the conception of a pure sensuous image,' 
is called notio. A conception formed from notions, which 
transcends the possibility of experience, is an idea, or a con- 
ception of reason. To one who has accustomed himself to 
these distinctions, it must be quite intolerable to hear the 
representation of the color red called an idea. It ought not 
even to be called a notion or conception of understanding. 


Sect. II — 0/ Transcendental Ideas 
Transcendental analytic showed us how the mere logical 
form of our cognition can contain the origin of pure concep- 
tions a priori, conceptions which represent objects antece- 
dently to all experience, or rather, indicate the synthetical 
unity which alone renders possible an empirical cognition of 
objects. The form of judgments — converted into a concep- 
tion of the synthesis of intuitions — produced the categories, 
which direct the employment of the understanding in ex- 
perience. This consideration warrants us to expect that the 
form of syllogisms, when applied to synthetical unity of in- 
tuitions, following the rule of the categories, will contain the 
origin of particular a priori conceptions, which we may call 
pure conceptions of reason or transcendental ideas, and which 
' All mathematical figures, for example. — Tr. 


will determine the use of the understanding in the totalitji 
of experience according to principles. 

The function of reason in arguments consists in the uni- 
versality of a cognition according to conceptions, and the 
eyllogism itself is a judgment which is determined a priori 
in the whole extent of its condition. The proposition, 
"Caius is mortal," is one which may be obtained from 
experience by the aid of the understanding alone; but my 
wish is to find a conception, which contains the condition 
under which the predicate of this judgment is given — in this 
case, the conception of man — and after subsuming under 
this condition, taken in its whole extent (all men are mor- 
tal), I determine according to it the cognition of the object 
thought, and say, "Caius is mortal." 

Hence, in the conclusion of a syllogism we restrict a pred- 
icate to a certain object, after having thought it in the 
major in its whole extent under a certain condition. This 
complete quantity of the extent in relation to such a con- 
dition is called universality (universalitas). To this corre- 
sponds totality (universitas) of conditions in the synthesis 
of intuitions. The transcendental conception of reason is 
therefore nothing else than the conception of the totality 
of the conditions of a given conditioned. Now as the un- 
conditioned alone renders possible totality of conditions, and, 
conversely, the totality of conditions is itself always uncon- 
ditioned; a pure rational conception in general can be de- 
fined and explained by means of the conception of the un- 
conditioned, in so far as it contains a basis for the synthesis 
of the conditioned. 

To the number of modes of relation which the under- 
standing cogitates by means of the categories, the number of 
pure rational conceptions will correspond. We must there- 
fore seek for, first, an unconditioned of the categorical synthe- 
sis in a subject; secondly, of the hypothetical synthesis of the 
members of a series ; thirdly, of the disjunctive synthesis of 
parts in a system. 

There are exactly the same number of modes of syllo- 


gism-s, each of whioli proceeds througli prosyllogisms to 
the unconditioned — one to the subject which cannot be em- 
ployed as a predicate, another to the presupposition which 
supposes nothing higher than itself, and the third to an 
aggregate of the members of the complete division of a 
conception. Hence the pure rational conceptions of total- 
ity in the synthesis of conditions have a necessary founda- 
tion in the nature of human reason — at least as modes of 
elevating the unity of the understanding to the uncondi- 
tioned. They may have no valid application, correspond- 
ing to their transcendental employment, in concreio, and be 
thus of no greater utility than to direct the understanding 
how, while extending them as widely as possible, to main- 
tain its exercise and application in perfect consistence and 

But, while speaking here of the totality of conditions 
and of the unconditioned as the common title of all concep- 
tions of reason, we again light upon an expression, which 
we find it impossible to dispense with, and which neverthe- 
less, owing to the ambiguity attaching to it from long abuse, 
we cannot employ with safety. The word absolute is one of 
the few words which, in its original signification, was per- 
fectly adequate to the conception it was intended to convey 
— a conception which no other word in the same language 
exactly suits, and the loss — or, which is the same thing, the 
incautious and loose employment — of which must be fol- 
lowed by the loss of the conception itself. And, as it is a 
conception which occupies much of the attention of reason, 
its loss would be greatly to the detriment of all transcen- 
dental philosophy. The word ahsotute is at present fre- 
quently used to denote that something can be predicated of 
a thing considered in itself and intrinsically. In this sense 
absolutely possible would signify that which is possible in 
itself {interne) — which is, in fact, the least that one can 
predicate of an object. On the other hand, it is sometimes 
employed to indicate that a thing is valid in all respects — for 
example, absolute sovereignty. Absolutely possible would ia 


this sense signify that which is possible in all relations and 
in every respect; and this is the most that can be predicated 
of the possibility of a thing. Now these significations do in 
truth frequently coincide. Thus, for example, that which 
is intrinsically impossible, is also impossible in all relations, 
that is, absolutely impossible. But in most cases they diflEer 
from each other toto ccelo, and I can by no means conclude 
that, because a thing is in itself possible, it is also possible 
in all relations, and therefore absolutely. Nay, more, I 
shall in the sequel show, that absolute necessity does not 
by any means depend on internal necessity, and that there- 
fore it must not be considered as synonymous with it. Of 
an opposite which is intrinsically impossible, we may affirm 
that it is in all respects impossible, and that consequently 
the thing itself, of which this is the opposite, is absolutely 
necessary; but I cannot reason conversely and say, the op- 
posite of that which is absolutely necessary is intrinsically 
impossible, that is, that the absolute necessity of things is an 
internal necessity. For this internal necessity is in certain 
cases a mere empty word with which the least conception 
cannot be connected, while the conception of the necessity 
of a thing in all relations possesses very peculiar determina- 
tions. Now as the loss of a conception of great utility in 
speculative scicDce cannot be a matter of indifference to the 
philosopher, I trust that the proper determination and care- 
ful preservation of the expression on which the conception 
depends will likewise be not indifiEerent to him. 

In this enlarged signification then shall I employ the 
word absolute, in opposition to that which is valid only in 
some particular respect; for the latter is restricted by condi- 
tions, the former is valid without any restriction whatever. 

Now the transcendental conception of reason has for its 
object nothing else than absolute totality in the synthesis of 
conditions, and does not rest satisfied till it has attained to 
the absolutely, that is, in all respects and relations, uncon- 
ditioned. For pure reason leaves to the understanding 
everything that immediately relates to the object of intui- 


tion or rather to their synthesis in imagination. The former 
restricts itself to the absolute totality in the employment of 
the conceptions of the understanding, and aims at carrying 
out the synthetical unity which is cogitated in the category, 
even to the unconditioned. This unity may hence be called 
the rational unity' oi phenomena, as the other, which the 
category expresses, may be termed the unity of the under- 
itanding.' Reason, therefore, has an immediate relation to 
the use of the understanding, not indeed in so far as the 
latter contains the ground of possible experience (for the 
conception of the absolute totality of conditions is not a con- 
ception that can be employed in experience, because no 
experience is unconditioned), but solely for the purpose of 
directing it to a certain unity, of which the understanding 
has no conception, and the aim of which is to collect into an 
absolute whole all acts of the understanding. Hence the 
objective employment of the pure conceptions of reason is 
always transcendent, while that of the pure conceptions of 
the understanding must, according to their nature, be 
always immanent, inasmuch as they are limited to possible 

I understand by idea a necessary conception of reason, 
to which no corresponding object can be discovered in 
the world of sense. Accordingly, the pure conceptions of 
reason at present under consideration are transcendental 
ideas. They are conceptions of pure reason, for they regard 
all empirical cognition as determined by means of an abso- 
lute totality of conditions. They are not mere fictions, but 
natural and necessary products of reason, and have hence a 
necessary relation to the whole sphere of the exercise of 
the understanding. And finally, they are transcendent, and 
overstep the limits of all experience, in which, consequently, 
no object can ever be presented that would be perfectly 
adequate to a transcendental idea. When we use the word 
idea, we say, as regards its object (an object of the pure 
understanding), a great deal, but as regards its subject (that 
' Vernunfteinheit, Verstandeseinheit. 


is, in respect of its reality under conditions of experience^ 
exceedingly little, because the idea, as the conception of a 
maximum, can never be completely and adequately pre- 
sented in concreto. Now, as in the merely speculative em- 
ployment of reason the latter is properly the sole aim, and 
as in this case the approximation to a conception, which is 
never attained in practice, is the same thing as if the concep- 
tion were non-existent — it is commonly said of a conception 
of this kind, it is only an idea. So we might very well say, 
the absolute totality of all phenomena is only an idea, for as 
we never can present an adequate representation of it, it 
remains for us a problem incapable of solution. On the 
other hand, as in the practical use of the understanding we 
have only to do with action and practice according to rules, 
an idea of pure reason can always be given really in concreto, 
although only partially, nay, it is the indispensable condi- 
tion of all practical employment of reason. The practice or 
execution of the idea is always limited and defective, but 
nevertheless within indeterminable boundaries, consequently 
always under the influence of the conception of an absolute 
perfection. And thus the practical idea is always in the 
highest degree fruitful, and in relation to real actions indis- 
pensably necessary. In the idea, pure reason possesses even 
causality and the power of producing that which its concep- 
tion contains. Hence we cannot say of wisdom, in a dis- 
paraging way, it is only an idea. For, for the very reason 
that it is the idea of the necessary unity of all possible aims, 
it must be for all practical exertions and endeavors the 
primitive condition and rule— a rule which, if not constitu- 
tive, is at least limitative. 

Now, although we must say of the transcendental con- 
ceptions of reason, they are only ideas, we must not, on this 
account, look upon them as superfluous and nugatory. For, 
although no object can be determined by them, they can be 
of great utility, unobserved and at the basis of the edifice of 
the understanding, as the canon for its extended and self- 
consistent exercise — a canon which, indeed, does not enable 


it to cognize more in an object than it would cognize by the 
help of its own conceptions, but which guides it more 
securely in its cognition. Not to mention that they perhaps 
render possible a transition from our conceptions of nature 
and the non-ego to the practical conceptions, and thus pro- 
duce for even ethical ideas keeping, so to speak, and con- 
nection with the speculative cognitions of reason. The 
explication of all this must be looked for in the sequel. 

But setting aside, in conformity with our original pur- 
pose, the consideration of the practical ideas, we proceed to 
contemplate reason in its speculative use alone, nay, in a 
still more restricted sphere, to wit, in the transcendental use ; 
and here must strike into the same path which we followed 
in our deduction of the categories. That is to say, we shall 
consider the logical form of the cognition of reason, that we 
may see whether reason may not be thereby a source of 
conceptions which enable us to regard objects in themselves 
as determined synthetically a priori, in relation to one or 
other of the functions of reason. 

Reason, considered as the faculty of a certain logical 
form of cognition, is the faculty of conclusion, that is, of 
mediate judgment — by means of the subsumption of the 
condition of a possible judgment under the condition of a 
given judgment. The given judgment is the general rule 
(major). The subsumption of the condition of another pos- 
sible judgment under the condition of the rule is the minor. 
The actual judgment, which enounces the assertion of the 
rule in the subsumed case, is the conclusion (conclusio). 
The rule predicates something generally under a certain 
condition. The condition of the rule is satisfied in some 
particular case. It follows, that what was valid in general 
under that condition must also be considered as valid in the 
particular case which satisfies this condition. It is very 
plain that reason attains to a cognition, by means of acts of 
the understanding which constitute a series of conditions. 
When I arrive at the proposition, "All bodies are change- 
able," by beginning with the more remote cognition (ia 


which the conception of body does not appear, but which 
nevertheless contains the condition of that conception), "All 
[that is] compound is changeable," by proceeding from this 
to a less remote cognition, which stands under the condition 
of the former, "Bodies are compound," and hence to a 
third, which at length connects for me the remote cognition 
(changeable) with the one before me, "Consequently, bodies 
are changeable"— I have arrived at a cognition (conclusion) 
through a series of conditions (premises). Now every 
series, whose exponent (of the categorical or hypothetical 
judgment) is given, can be continued; consequently the 
same procedure of reason conducts us to the ratiocinatio 
polysyllogistica, which is a series of syllogisms, that can be 
continued either on the side of the conditions {per prosyl- 
logismos) or of the conditioned {per episyllogismos) to an 
indefinite extent. 

But we very soon perceive that the chain or series of 
prosyllogisms, that is, of deduced cognitions on the side 
of the grounds or conditions of a given cognition, in other 
words, the ascending series of syllogisms must have a very 
different relation to the faculty of reason from that of the 
descending series, that is, the progressive procedure of reason 
on the side of the conditioned by means of episyllogisms. 
For, as in the former case the cognition {conclusid) is given 
only as conditioned, reason can attain to this cognition only 
under the presupposition that all the members of the series 
on the side of the conditions are given (totality in the 
series of premises), because only under this supposition is 
the judgment we may be considering possible a priori; while 
on the side of the conditioned or the inferences, only an 
incomplete and becoming, and not a presupposed or given 
series, consequently only a potential progression, is cogi- 
tated. Hence, when a cognition is contemplated as con- 
ditioned, reason is compelled to consider the series of 
conditions in an ascending line as completed and given in 
their totality. But if the very same cognition is considered 
at the same time as the condition of other cognitions, which 


together constitute a series of inferences or consequences in 
a descending line, reason may preserve a perfect indifference, 
as to how far this progression may extend a parte posteriori, 
and whether the totality of this series is possible, because it 
stands in no need of such a series for the purpose of arriving 
at the conclusion before it, inasmuch as this conclusion is 
sufficiently guaranteed and determined on grounds a parte 
priori. It may be the case, that upon the side of the condi- 
tions the series of premises has a first or highest condition, 
or it may not possess this, and so be a parte priori unlimited; 
but it must nevertheless contain totality of conditions, even 
admitting that we never could succeed in completely appre- 
hending it; and the whole series must be unconditionally 
true, if the conditioned, which is considered as an inference 
resulting from it, is to be held as true. This is a require- 
ment of reason, which announces its cognition as determined 
a priori and as necessary, either in itself — and in this case 
it needs no grounds to rest upon — or, if it is deduced, as a 
member of a series of grounds, which is itself uncondition- 
ally true. 


Sect. Ill — System of Transcendental Ideas 

We are not at present engaged with a logical dialectic 
which makes complete abstraction of the content of cogni- 
tion, and aims only at unveiling the illusory appearance in 
the form of syllogisms. Our subject is transcendental dia- 
lectic, which must contain, completely a priori, the origin of 
certain cognitions drawn from pure reason, and the origin 
of certain deduced conceptions, the object of which cannot 
be given empirically, and which therefore lie beyond the 
sphere of the faculty of understanding. We have observed, 
from the natural relation which the transcendental use of 
our cognition, in syllogisms as well as in judgments, must 
have to the logical, that there are three kinds of dialectical 
arguments, corresponding to the three modes of conclusion, 


by which ieason attains to cognitions on principles; and 
that in all it is the business of reason to ascend from the 
conditioned synthesis, beyond -which the understanding 
never proceeds, to the unconditioned which the under- 
standing never can reach. 

Now the most general relations which can exist in our 
representations are, 1st, the relation to the subject; 2d, the 
relation to objects, either as phenomena, or as objects of 
thought in general. If we connect this subdivision with 
the main division, all the relations of our representations, 
of which we can form either a conception or an idea, are 
threefold: 1. The relation to the subject; 2. The relation to 
the manifold of the object as a phenomenon; 3. The rela- 
tion to all things in general. 

Now all pure conceptions have to do in general with the 
synthetical unity of representations; conceptions of pure 
reason (transcendental ideas), on the other hand, with the 
unconditional synthetical unity of all conditions. It fol- 
lows that all transcendental ideas arrange themselves in 
three classes, the first of which contains the absolute (un- 
conditioned) unity of the thinking subject, the second the abso- 
lute unity of the series of the conditions of a phenomenon, the 
third the absolute unity of the condition of all objects of thought 
in general. 

The thinking subject is the object-matter of Psychology ; 
the sum total of all phenomena (the world) is the object- 
matter of Cosmology ; and the thing which contains the 
highest condition of the possibility of all that is cogitable 
(the being of all beings) is the object-matter of all Theology. 
Thus pure reason presents us with the idea of a transcen- 
dental doctrine of the soul {psychologia rationalis), of a tran- 
scendental science of the world {cosmologia rationalis), and 
finally of a transcendental doctrine of God {iheologia tran- 
scendentalis). Understanding cannot originate even the out- 
line of any of these sciences, even when connected with the 
highest logical use of reason, that is, all cogitable syllogisms 
— for the purpose of proceeding from one object (phenome- 


non) to all others, even to the utmost limits of the empirical 
synthesis. They are, on the contrary, pure and genuine 
products, or problems, of pure reason. 

What modi of the pure conceptions of reason these tran- 
scendental ideas are, will be fully exposed in the following 
chapter. They follow the guiding thread of the categories. 
For pure reason never relates immediately to objects, but to 
the conceptions of these contained in the understanding. In 
like manner,. it will be made manifest in the detailed expla- 
nation of these ideas — how reason, merely through the syn- 
thetical use of the same function which it employs in a cate- 
gorical syllogism, necessarily attains to the conception of 
the absolute unity of the thinking subject — how the logical 
procedure in hypothetical ideas necessarily produces the 
idea of the absolutely unconditioned in a series of given 
conditions, and finally — how the mere form of the disjunc- 
tive syllogism involves the highest conception of a being of 
all beings: a thought which at first sight seems in the highest 
degree paradoxical. 

An objective deduction, such as we were able to present 
in the case of the categories, is impossible as regards these 
transcendental ideas. For they have, in truth, no relation 
to any object, in experience, for the very reason that they 
are only ideas. But a subjective deduction of them from 
the natnre of our reason is possible, and has been given in 
the present chapter. 

It is easy to perceive that the sole aim of pure reason is, 
the absolute totality of the synthesis on the side of the condi- 
tions, and that it does not concern itself with the absolute 
completeness on the part of the conditioned. For of the for- 
mer alone does she stand in need, in order to preposit the 
whole series of conditions, and thus present them to the un- 
derstanding a priori. But if we once have a completely 
(and unconditionally) given condition, there is no further 
necessity, in proceeding with the series, for a conception of 
reason; for the understanding takes of itself every step 
downward, from the condition to the conditioned. Thus 


the transcendental ideas are available only for ascending 
in the series of conditions, till we reach the unconditioned, 
that is, principles. As regards descending to the condi- 
tioned, on the other hand, we find that there is a widely 
extensive logical use which reason makes of the laws of the 
understanding, but that a transcendental use thereof is im- 
possible; and, that when we form an idea of the absolute 
totality of such a synthesis, for example, of the whole series 
of all future changes in the world, this idea is a mere ens 
rationis, an arbitrary fiction of thought, and not a necessary 
presupposition of reason. For the possibility of the condi- 
tioned presupposes the totality of its conditions, but not of 
its consequences. Consequently, this conception is not a 
transcendental idea — and it is with these alone that we are 
at present occupied. 

Finally, it is obvious, that there exists among the tran- 
scendental ideas a certain connection and unity, and that 
pure reason, by means of them, collects all its cognitions 
into one system. From the cognition of self to the cogni- 
tion of the world, and through these to the supreme being, 
the progression is so natural, that it seems to resemble the 
logical march of reason from the premises to the conclusion.' 
Now whether there lies unobserved at the foundation of 
these ideas an analogy of the same kind as exists between 
the logical and transcendental procedure of reason, is another 
of those questions, the answer to which we must not expect 

' The science of Metaphysics has for the proper object of its inquiries only 
three grand ideas: God, Feeedom, and Immortalitt, and it aims at showing, 
that the second conception, conjoined with the first, must lead to the third, as 
a necessary conclusion. AH the other subjects with which it occupies itself, 
are merely means for the attainment and realization of these ideas. It does not 
require these ideas for the construction of a science of nature, but, on the con- 
trary, for the purpose of passing beyond the sphere of nature. A complete in- 
sight into and comprehension of them would render Theology, Ethics, and, 
through the conjunction of both, Religion, solely dependent on the speculativi 
faculty of reason. In a systematic representation of these ideas the above 
mentioned arrangement — the synthetical one — would be the most suitable ; bui 
in the investigation which must necessarily precede it, the analytical, which 
reverses this arrangement, would be better adapted to our purpose, as in it we 
should proceed from that which experience immediately presents to ua — psy- 
chology,, to cosmology, and thence to theology. 


till we arrive at a more adva,i\ced stage in our inquiries. In 
this cursory and preliminary view, we have, meanwhile, 
reached our aim. For we have dispelled the ambiguity 
which attached to the transcendental conceptions of reason, 
from their being commonly mixed up with other conceptions 
in the systems of philosophers, and not properly distin- 
guished from the conceptions of the understanding; we have 
exposed their origin, and thereby at the same time their de- 
terminate number, and presented them in a systematic con- 
nection, and have thus marked out and inclosed a definite 
sphere for pure reason. 



It may be said that the object of a merely transcendental 
idea is something of which we have no conception, although 
the idea may be a necessary product of reason according to 
its original laws. For, in fact, a conception of an object 
that is adequate to the idea given by reason, is impossible. 
For such an object must be capable of being presented and 
intuited in a possible experience. But we should express 
our meaning better, and with less risk of being misunder- 
stood, if we said that we can have no knowledge of an 
object, which perfectly corresponds to an idea, although 
we may possess a problematical conception thereof. 

Now the transcendental (subjective) reality at least of 
the pure conceptions of reason rests upon the fact that we 
are led to such ideas by a necessary procedure of reason. 
There must therefore be syllogisms which contain no em- 
pirical premises, and by means of which we conclude from 
something that we do know, to something of which we do 
not even possess a conception, to which we, nevertheless, 
by an unavoidable illusion, ascribe objective reality. Such 


arguments are, as regards their result, rather to be termed 
sophisms than syllogisms, although indeed, as regards their 
origin, they are very well entitled to the latter name, in- 
asmuch as they are not fictions or accidental products of 
reason, but are necessitated by its very nature. They are 
sophisms, not of men, but of pure reason herself, from which 
the wisest cannot free himself. After long labor he may be 
able to guard against the error, but he can never be thor- 
oughly rid of the illusion which continually mocks and 
misleads him. 

Of these dialectical arguments there are three kinds, cor- 
responding to the number of the ideas, which their conclu- 
sions present. In the argument or syllogism of the first 
class, I conclude, from the transcendental conception of the 
subject which contains no manifold, the absolute unity of 
the subject itself, of which I cannot in this manner attain 
to a conception. This dialectical argument I shall call the 
Transcendental Paralogism. The second class of sophistical 
arguments is occupied with the transcendental conception of 
the absolute totality of the series of conditions for a given 
phenomenon, and I conclude, from the fact that I have al- 
ways a self -contradictory conception of the unconditioned 
synthetical unity of the series upon one side, the truth of 
the opposite unity, of which I have nevertheless no con- 
ception. The condition of reason in these dialectical argu- 
ments, I shall term the Antinomy of pure reason. Finally, 
according to the third kind of sophistical argument, I con- 
clude, from the totality of the conditions of thinking ob- 
jects in general, in so far as they can be given, the absolute 
synthetical unity of all conditions of the possibility of things 
in general; that is, from things which I do not know in their 
mere transcendental conception, I conclude a being of all 
beings which I know still less by means of a transcendental 
conception, and of whose unconditioned necessity I can form 
no conception whatever. This dialectical argument I shall 
call the Ideal of pure reason. 




Tke logical paralogism consists in tlie falsity of. an argu- 
ment in respect of its form, be the content what it may. 
But a transcendental paralogism has a transcendental foun- 
dation, and concludes falsely, while the form is correct and 
unexceptionable. In this manner the paralogism has its 
foundation in the nature of human reason, and is the parent 
of an unavoidable, thotigh not insoluble, mental illusion. 

We now come to a conception, which was not inserted in 
the general list of transcendental conceptions, and yet must 
be reckoned with them, but at the same time without in the 
least altering, or indicating a deficiency in that table. This 
is the conception, or, if the term is preferred, the judgment, 
1 think. But it is readily perceived that this thought is as 
it were the vehicle of all conceptions in general, and conse- 
quently of transcendental conceptions also, and that it is 
therefore regarded as a transcendental conception, although 
it can have no peculiar claim to be so ranked, inasmuch as 
its only use is to indicate that all thought is accompanied by 
consciousness. At the same time, pure as this conception 
is from all empirical content (impressions of the senses), it 
enables us to distinguish two different kinds of objects. 
1, as thinking, am an object of the internal sense, and am 
called soul. That which is an object of the external senses 
is called body. Thus the expression, I, as a thinking being, 
designates the object-matter of psychology, which may be 
called the rational doctrine of the soul, inasmuch as in this 
science I desire to know nothing of the soul but what, in- 
dependently of all experience (which determines me in con- 
crete)^ may be concluded from this conception I, in so far 
as it appears in all thought. 

Now, the rational doctrine of the soul is really an under- 


taking of this kind. For if the smallest empirical element 
of thought, if anj particular perception of my internal state, 
were to be introduced among the grounds of cognition of 
this science, it would not be a rational, but an empirical 
doctrine of the soul. We have thus before us a pretended 
science, raised upon the single proposition, / thinh, whose 
foundation or want of foundation we may very properly, 
and agreeably with the nature of a transcendental philoso- 
phy, here examine. It ought not to be objected that in this 
proposition, which expresses the perception of one's self, an 
internal experience is asserted, and that consequently the 
rational doctrine of the soul which is founded upon it is not 
pure, but partly founded upon an empirical principle. For 
this internal perception is nothing more than the mere ap- 
perception, / think, which in fact renders all transcendental 
conceptions possible, in which we say, I think substance, 
cause, etc. For internal experience in general, and its pos- 
sibility, or perception in general, and its relation to other 
perceptions, unless some particular distinction or determi- 
nation thereof is empirically given, cannot be regarded as 
empirical cognition, but as cognition of the empirical, and 
belongs to the investigation of the possibility of every ex- 
perience, which is certainly transcendental. The smallest 
object of experience (for example, only pleasure or pain), 
that should be included in the general representation of 
self-consciousness, would immediately change the rational 
into an empirical psychology. 

1 think is therefore the only text of rational psychology, 
from which it must develop its whole system. It is mani- 
fest that this thought, when applied to an object (myself), 
can contain nothing but transcendental predicates thereof; 
because the least empirical predicate would destroy the 
purity of the science and its independence of all experience. 

But we shall have to follow here the guidance of the 
categories — only, as in the present case a thing, I, as think- 
ing being, is at first given, we shall — not indeed change 
the order of the categories as it stands in the table — but 


begin at the category of substance, by whicb a thing in itself 
is represented, and proceed backward through the series. 
The topic of the rational doctrine of the soul, from -which 
everything else it may contain must be deduced, is accord- 
ingly as follows: 


The soul is Substance. 
2. 3. 

As regards the different 

As regards its quality, ^l""?® ^^ ^^^°^ ,i* ®^i^*^' 

it is SIMPLE. i* ^,^ numerically iden- 

tical, that IS UNITY, not 

It is in relation to possible objects in space. ' 

From these elements originate all the conceptions of pure 
psychology, by combination alone, without the aid of any 
other principle. This substance, merely as an object of 
the internal sense, gives the conception of Immateriality; 
as simple substance, that of Incorruptibility; its identity, as 
intellectual substance, gives the conception of Personality; 
all these three together, Spirituality. Its relation to objects 
in space gives us the conception of connection [commercium) 
with bodies. Thus it represents thinking substance as the 
principle of life in matter, that is, as a soul {anima), and as 
the ground of Animality; and this, limited and determined 
by the conception of spirituality, gives us that of Immortality. 

Now to these conceptions relate four paralogisms of a 
transcendental psychology, which is falsely held to be 
a science of pure reason, touching the nature of our think- 
ing being. We can, however, lay at the foundation of this 

' The reader, who may not so easily perceive the psychological sense ol 
these expressions — taken here in their transcendental abstraction — and cannot 
guess why the latter attribute of the soul belongs to the category of exiitmce, 
will find the expressions sufficiently explained and justified in the sequel. 1 
have, moreover, to apologize for the Latin terms which have been employed, 
instead of their German synonymes, contrary to the rules of correct writing. 
But I judged it better to sacrifice elegance of language to perspicuity ot 


science nothing but the simple and in itself perfectly con- 
tentless representation /, which cannot even be called a 
conception, but merely a consciousness which accompanies 
all conceptions. By this I, or He, or It, who or which 
thinks, nothing more is represented than a transcendental 
subject of thought=x, which is cognized only by means of 
the thoughts that are its predicates, and of which, apart 
from these, we cannot form the least conception. Hence we 
are obliged to go round this representation in a perpetual 
circle, inasmuch as we must always employ it, in order to 
frame any judgment respecting it. And this inconvenience 
we find it impossible to rid ourselves of, because conscious- 
ness in itself is not so much a representation distinguishing 
a particular object, as a form of representation in general, in 
so far as it may be termed cognition; for in and by cogni- 
tion alone do I think anything. 

It must, however, appear extraordinary at first sight that 
the condition, under which I think, and which is conse- 
quently a property of my subject, should be held to be 
likewise valid for every existence which thinks, and that 
we can presume to base upon a seemingly empirical proposi- 
tion a judgment which is apodictic and universal, to wit, 
that everything which thinks is constituted as the voice 
of my consciousness declares it to be, that is, as a self- 
conscious being. The cause of this belief is to be found in 
the fact, that we necessarily attribute to things a priori all 
the properties which constitute conditions under which alone 
we can cogitate them. Now I cannot obtain the least repre- 
sentation of a thinking being by means of external experi- 
ence, but solely through self-consciousness. Such objects 
are consequently nothing more than the transference of this 
consciousness of mine to other things which can only thus 
be represented as thinking beings. The proposition, / think, 
is, in the present case, understood in a problematical sense, 
not in so far as it contains a perception of an existence (like 
the Cartesian Cogito, ergo sum), but in regard to its mere 
possibility — for the purpose of discovering what properties 


may be inferred from so simple a proposition and predicated 
of the subject of it. 

If at the foundation of our pure rational cognition of 
thinking beings there lay more than the mere Gogito — if we 
could likewise call in aid observations on the play of our 
thoughts, and the thence derived natural laws of the think- 
ing self, there would arise an empirical psychology which 
would be a kind of physiology of the internal sense, and 
might possibly be capable of explaining the phenomena of 
that sense. But it could never be available for discovering 
those properties which do not belong to possible experience 
(such as the quality of simplicity), nor could it make any 
apodictic enunciation on the nature of thinking beings: — it 
would therefore not be a rational psychology. 

Now, as the proposition / think (in the problematical 
sense) contains the form of every judgment in general, and 
is the constant accompaniment of all the categories; it is 
manifest, that conclusions are drawn from it only by a 
transcendental employment of the understanding. This use 
of the understanding excludes all empirical elements; and 
we cannot, as shown above, have any favorable conception 
beforehand of its procedure. We shall therefore follow with 
a critical eye this proposition through all the predicaments 
of pure psychology; but we shall, for brevity's sake, allow 
this examination to proceed in an uninterrupted connection. 

Before entering on this task, however, the following 
general remark may help to quicken our attention to this 
mode of argument. It is not merely through my thinking 
that I cognize an object, but only through my determining 
a given intuition in relation to the unity of consciousness 
in which all thinking consists. It follows that I cognize 
myself, not through my being conscious of myself as think- 
ing, but only when I am conscious of the intuition of myself 
as determined in relation to the function of thought. All 
the modi of self-consciousness in thought are hence not con- 
ceptions of objects (conceptions of the understanding — 
categories); they are mere logical functions, which do not 


present to thought an object to be cognized, and cannot fhere- 
fore present my Self as an object. Not the consciousness of 
the determining, but only that of the determinable self, tliat is, 
of my internal intuition (in so far as the manifold contained 
in it can be connected conformably witli the general condition 
of the unity of apperception in thought), is the object. 

1. In all judgments I am the determining subject of that 
relation which constitutes a judgment. But that the I which 
thinks, must be considered as in thought always a subject, 
and as a thing which cannot be a predicate to thought, is an 
apodictic and identical proposition. But this proposition 
does not signify that I, as an object, am, for myself, a self- 
subsistent being or substance. This latter statement — an am- 
bitious one — requires to be supported by data which are not 
to be discovered in thought; and are perhaps (in so far as 
I consider the thinking self merely as such) not to be dis- 
covered in the thinking self at all. 

2. That the / or Ego of apperception, and consequently 
in all thought, is singular or simple, and cannot be resolved 
into a plurality of subjects, and therefore indicates a logi- 
cally simple subject — this is self-evident from the very 
conception of an Ego, and is consequently an analytical 
proposition. But this is not tantamount to declaring that 
the thinking Ego is a simple substance — for this would be 
a synthetical proposition. The conception of substance al- 
ways relates to intuitions, which with me cannot be other 
than sensuous, and which consequently lie completely out 
of the sphere of the understanding and its thought; but to 
this sphere belongs the affirmation that the Ego is simple in 
thought. It would indeed be surprising, if the conception 
of substance, which in other cases requires so much labor to 
distinguish from the other elements presented "by intuition 
— so much trouble, too, to discover whether it can be simple 
(as in the case of the parts of matter), should be presented 
immediately to me, as if by revelation, in the poorest mental 
representation of all. 

S. The propositioE of the identity of my Self amid all 


the manifold representations of which I am conscious, Is 
likewise a proposition lying in the conceptions themselves, 
and is consequently analytical. But this identity of the 
subject, of which I am conscious in all its representations, 
does not relate to or concern the intuition of the subject, by 
which it is given as an object. This proposition cannot 
therefore enounce the identity of the person, by which is 
understood the consciousness of the identity of its own sub- 
stance as a thinking being in all change and variation of 
circumstances. To prove this, we should require not a mere 
analysis of the proposition, but synthetical judgments based 
upon a given intuition. 

4. I distinguish my own existence, as that of a thinking 
being, from that of other things external to me — among 
which my body also is reckoned. This is also an analytical 
proposition, for other things are exactly those which I think 
as different or distinguished from myself. But whether this 
consciouspess of myself is possible without things external to 
me ; and whether therefore I can exist merely as a thinking 
being (without being man) — cannot be known or inferred 
from this proposition. 

Thus we have gained nothing as regards the cognition of 
myself as object, by the analysis of the consciousness of my 
Self in thought. The logical exposition of thought in general 
is mistaken for a metaphysical determination of the object. 

Our Critique would be an investigation utterly superflu- 
ous, if there existed a possibility of proving a priori, that 
all thinking beings are in themselves simple substances, as 
such, therefore, possess the inseparable attribute of person- 
ality, and are conscious of their existence apart from and 
unconnected with matter. For we should thus have taken 
a step beyond the world of sense, and have penetrated into 
the sphere of noumena; and in this case the right could not 
be denied us of extending our knowledge in this sphere, of 
establishing ourselves, and, under a favoring star, appropri- 
ating to ourselves possessions in it. For the proposition, 
"Every thinking being, as such, is simple substance," is an 


a priori synthetical proposition; because in the first plac« 
it goes beyond the conception which is the subject of it, and 
adds to the mere notion of a thinking being the jnode of its 
existence, and in the second place annexes a predicate (that 
of simplicity) to the latter conception— a predicate which 
it could not have discovered in the sphere of experience. 
It woTild follow that a priori synthetical propositions are 
possible and legitimate, not only, as we have maintained, in 
relation to objects of possible experience, and as principles 
of the possibility of this experience itself, but are applicable 
to things as things in themselves — an inference which makes 
an end of the whole of this Critique, and obliges us to fall 
back on the old mode of metaphysical procedure. But in- 
deed the danger is not so great, if we look a little closer into 
the question. 

There lurks in the procedure of rational psychology a 
paralogism, which is represented in the following syllogism: 

27iat which cannot be cogitated otherwise than as subject, doet 
not exist otherwise than as subject, and is therefore substance. 

A thinking being, considered merely as such, cannot be cogi- 
tated otherwise than as subject. 

Ther^ore it exists also as such, that is, as substance. 

In the major we speak of a being that can be cogitated 
generally and in every relation, consequently as it may be 
given in intuition. But in the minor we speak of the same 
being only in so far as it regards itself as subject, relatively 
to thought and the unity of consciousness, but not in relation 
to intuition, by which it is presented as an object to thought. 
Thus the conclusion is here arrived at by a Sophisma figures 

' Thought is taken in the two premises in two totally different senses. In 
the major it is considered as relating and applying to objects in general, conse- 
quently to objects of intuition also. In the minor, we understand it as relating 
merely to self-consciousness. In this sense, we do not cogitate an object, but 
merely the relation to the self-consciousness of the subject, as the form of 
thought. In the former premise we speak of things which cannot be cogitated 
otherwise than as subjects. In the second, we do not speak of things, but of 
thought (all objects being abstracted), in which the Ego is always the subject 
of consciousness. Hence the conclusion cannot be, "I cannot exist otherwise 


That this famous argument is a mere paralogism, will be 
plain to any one who will consider the general remark which 
precedes our exposition of the principles of the pure under- 
standing, and the section on noumena. For it was there 
proved that the conception of a thing, which can exist per se 
— only as a subject and never as a predicate, possesses no 
objective reality; that is to say, we can never know whether 
there exists any object to correspond to the conception; con- 
sequently, the conception is nothing more than a conception, 
and from it we derive no proper knowledge. If this concep- 
tion is to indicate, by the term substance, an object that can 
be given, if it is to become a cognition ; we must have at the 
foundation of the cognition a permanent intuition, as the in- 
dispensable condition of its objective reality. For through 
intuition alone can an object be given. But in internal in- 
tuition there is nothing permanent, for the Ego is but the 
consciousness of my thought. If, then, we appeal merely 
to thought, we cannot discover the necessary condition of 
the application of the conception of substance — that is, 
of a subject existing per se — to the subject as a thinking 
being. And thus the conception of the simple nature of 
substance, which is connected with the objective reality 
of this conception, is shown to be also invalid, and to be, in 
fact, nothing more than the logical qualitative unity of self- 
consciousness in thought; while we remain perfectly igno- 
rant whether the subject is composite or not. 

Refutation of the Argument of Mendelssohn for the Substan- 
tiality or Permanence^ of the Soul 

This acute philosopher easily perceived the insufficiency 
of the common argument which attempts to prove that the 
soul — it being granted that it is a simple being — cannot 

than aa Bubjeet"; but only "I can, in cogitating my existence, employ my Ego 
only as the subject of the judgment." But this is an identical proposition, and 
throws no light on the mode of my existence. 

' There is no philosophical term in our language which can express, without 
saying too much or too little, the meaning of Beharrlichkeit. Permanence will 
be sufficient, if taken in an absolute, instead of the commonly received relativ* 
sense. — Tr. 
XI — Science — 14 


perish by dissolution or decomposition ; he saw it is not im- 
possible for it to cease to be by extinction, or disappearance.^ 
He endeavored to prove in his "Phsedo" that the soul cannot 
be annihilated, by showing that a simple being cannot cease 
to exist. Inasmuch as, he said, a simple existence cannot 
diminish, nor gradually lose portions of its being, and thus 
be by degrees reduced to nothing (for it possesses no parts, 
and therefore no multiplicity), between the moment in which 
it is, and the moment in which it is not, no time can be dis- 
covered — which is impossible. But this philosopher did 
not consider, that, granting the soul to possess this simple 
nature, which contains no parts external to each other, and 
consequently no extensive quantity, we cannot refuse to it, 
any less than to any other being, intensive quantity, that 
is, a degree of reality in regard to all its faculties, nay, to 
all that constitutes its existence. But this degree of reality 
can become less and less through an infinite series of smaller 
degrees. It follows, therefore, that this supposed substance 
— this thing, the permanence of which is not assured in any 
other way, may, if not by decomposition, by gradual loss 
{remissio) of its powers (consequently by elanguescence, if 
I may employ this expression), be changed into nothing. 
For consciousness itself has always a degree, which may be 
lessened.* Consequently the faculty of being conscious may 
be diminished; and so with all other faculties. The perma- 
nence of the soul, therefore, as an object of- the internal 
sense, remains undemonstrated, nay, even indemonstrable. 

' Verschwinden. 

^ Clearness is not, as logicians maintain, the consciousness of a representa- 
tion. For a certain degree of consciousness, which may not, however, be suf- 
ficient for reoolleotion, is to be met with in many dim representations. For 
without any consciousness at all, we should not be able to recognize any difEer- 
ence in the obscure representations we connect; as we really can do with many 
conceptions, such as those of right and justice, and those of the musician, who 
strikes at once several notes in improvising a piece of music. But a representa- 
tion is clear, in which our consciousness is sufficient for the consciousness of the 
difference of this representation from others. If we are only conscious that 
there is a difference, but are not conscious of the difEerenoe — that is, what the 
difference is — the representation must be termed obscure. There is, conse- 
quently, an infinite series of degrees of consciousness down to its entire dis- 


Its permanence in life is eyident, per se, inasmuch as the 
thinking being (as man) is to itself, at the same time, an 
object of the external senses. But this does not authorize 
the rational psychologist to affirm, from mere conceptions, 
its permanence beyond life.' 

If, now, we take the above propositions — as they must 
be accepted as valid for all thinking beings in the system 
of rational psychology — in synthetical connection, and pro- 
ceed, from the category of relation, with the proposition, 

• There are some who think they have done enough to establish a new pos- 
sibility in the mode of the existence of soula, when they have shown that there 
is no contradiction in their hypothesis on this subject. Such are those who 
affirm the possibility of thought — of which they have no other knowledge than 
what they derive from its use in connecting empirical intuitions presented ia 
this our human life — after this life has ceased. But it is very easy to embar- 
rass them by the introduction of counter-possibilities, which rest upon quite as 
good a foundation. Such, for example, is the possibility of the division of a 
simple substance into several substances; and conversely, of the coalition of 
several into one simple substance. For, although divisibility presupposes com- 
position, it does not necessarily require a composition of substances, but only of 
the degrees (of the several faculties) of one and the same substance. Now wa 
can cogitate all the powers and faculties of the soul — even that of consciousness 
—as diminished by one-half, the substance stiU remaining. In the same way 
we can represent to ourselves without contradiction this obliterated half as pre- 
served, not in the soul, but without it; and we can believe that, as in this case 
everything that is real in the soul, and has a degree — consequently its entire 
existence — has been halved, a particular substance would arise out of the soul. 
For the multiplicity, which has been divided, formerly existed, but not as a 
multiplicity of substances, but of every reahty as the quantum of existence in it; 
and the unity of substance was merely a mode of existence, which by this divis- 
ion alone has been transformed into a plurality of subsistence. In the same man- 
ner several simple substances might coalesce into one, without anything being 
lost except the plurality of subsistence, inasmuch as the one substance would con- 
tain the degree of reality of all the former substances. Perhaps, indeed, tha 
simple substances, which appear under the form of matter might (not indeed 
by a mechanical or chemical influence upon each other, but by an unknown 
influence, of which the former would be but the phenomenal appearance), by 
means of such a dynamical division of the parent-souls, as intensive quantities, 
produce other souls, while the former repaired the loss thus sustained with new 
matter of the same sort. I am far from allowing any value to such chimeras; 
and the principles of our analytic have clearly proved that no other than an em- 
pirical use of the categories — that of substance, for example — is possible. But if 
the rationalist is bold enough to construct, on the mere authority of the faculty 
of thought — without any intuition, whereby an object is given — a self-subsistent 
being, merely because the unity of apperception in thought cannot allow him to 
believe it a composite being, instead of declaring, as he ought to do, that he is 
unable to explain the possibility of a thinking nature ; what ought to hinder the 
materialist, with as complete an independence of experience, to employ the prin- 
ciple of the rationalist in a directly opposite manner — still preserving the formal 
unity required bv his opponent ? 


"All thinking beings are, as such, substances," backward 
through the series, till the circle is completed ; we come at 
last to their existence, of which, in this system of rational 
psychology, substances are held to be conscious, indepen- 
dently of external things; nay, it is asserted that, in relation 
to the permanence which is a necessary characteristic of sub- 
stance, they can of themselves determine external thiilgs. 
It follows that Idealism — at least problematical Idealism, is 
perfectly unavoidable ia this rationalistic system. And, if 
the existence of outward things is not held to be requisite 
to the determination of the existence of a substance in time, 
the existence of these outward things at all is a gratuitous 
assumption which remains without the possibility of a proof. 
But if we proceed awaZy^^ctt^ — the "I think" as a propo- 
sition containing in itself an existence as given, consequently 
modality being the principle — and dissect this proposition, 
in order to ascertain its content, and discover whether and 
how this Ego determines its existence in time and space 
without the aid of anything external; the propositions of 
rationalistic psychology would not begin with the concep- 
tion of a thinking being, but with a reality, and the proper- 
ties of a thinking being in general would be deduced from 
the mode in which this reality is cogitated, after everything 
empirical had been abstracted; as is shown in the following 
table : 

/ think, 
2 3 

as Subject, as simple Subject, 


as identical Subject, 

in every- state of my thought. 

Now, inasmuch as it is not determined in this second 
proposition, whether I can exist and be cogitated only as 
subject, and not also as a predicate of another being, the 
conception of a subject is here taken in a merely logical 


sense; and it remains undetermined, wlietlier substance is 
to be cogitated under the conception or not. But in tbe 
tbird proposition, tbe absolute unity of apperception — the 
simple Ego in the representation to which all connectiom 
and separation, which constitute thought, relate, is of itself 
important; even although it presents us with no information 
about the constitution or subsistence of the subject. Apper- 
ception is something real, and the simplicity of its nature is 
given in the very fact of its possibility. Now in space there 
is nothing real that is at the same time simple; for points, 
which are the only simple things in space, are merely limits, 
but not constituent parts of space. From this follows the 
impossibility of a definition on the basis of materialism of 
the constitution of my Ego as a merely thtaking subject. 
But, because my existence is considered in the first propo- 
sition as given, for it does not mean, "Every thinking being 
exists" (for this would be predicating of them absolute neces- 
sity), but only, "7 exist thinking"; the proposition is quite, 
empirical, and contains the determinability of my existence 
merely in relation to my representations in time. But as i 
require for this purpose something that is permanent, such 
as is not given in internal intuition; the mode of my exist- 
ence, whether as substance or as accident, cannot be deter- 
mined by means of this simple self- consciousness. Thus, 
if materialism is inadequate to explain the mode in which 
I exist, spiritualism is likewise as insufficient; and the con- 
clusion is, that we are utterly unable to attain to any knowl- 
edge of the constitution of the soul, in so far as relates to the 
possibility of its existence apart from external objects. 

And, indeed, how should it be possible, merely by the 
aid of the unity of consciousness — which we cognize only 
for the reason that it is indispensable to the possibility of 
experience — to pass the bounds of experience (our exist- 
ence in this life); and to extend our cognition to the nature 
of all thinking beings by means of the empirical — but in 
relation to every sort of intuition, perfectly undetermined 
— proposition, ■"! think" ? 


There does not then exist any rational psychology as a 
doctrine furnishing any addition to our knowledge of our- 
selves. It is nothing more than a discipline, which sets im- 
passable limits to speculative reason in this region of thought, 
to prevent it, on the one hand, from throwing itself into the 
arms of a soulless materialism, and, on the other, from losing 
itself in the mazes of a baseless spiritualism. It teaches us 
to consider this refusal of our reason to give any satisfactory 
answer to questions which reach beyond the limits of this 
our human life, as a hint to abandon fruitless speculation ; 
and to direct, to a practical use, our knowledge of ourselves 
— which, although applicable only to objects of experience, 
receives its principles from a higher source, and regulates its 
procedure as if our destiny reached far beyond the bounda- 
ries of experience and life. 

From all this it is evident that rational psychology has 
its origin in a mere misunderstanding. The unity of con- 
sciousness, which lies at the basis of the categories, is 
considered to be an intuition of the subject as an object; 
and the category of substance is applied to the intuition. 
But this unity is nothing more than the unity in thought, by 
which no object is given; to which therefore the category 
of substance — which always presupposes a given intuition 
— cannot be applied. Consequently, the subject cannot be 
cognized. The subject of the categories cannot, therefore, 
for the very reason that it cogitates these, frame any con- 
ception of itself as an object of the categories; for, to cogi- 
tate these, it must lay at the foundation its own pure self- 
consciousness — the very thing that it wishes to explain and 
describe. In like manner, the subject, in which the repre- 
sentation of time has its basis, cannot determine, for this 
very reason, its own existence in time. Now, if the latter 
is impossible, the former, as an attempt to determine itself 
by means of the categories as a thinking being in general, 
is no less so.' 

' The "I think" is, as has been already stated, an empirical proposition, and 
eontains the proposition, "I exist." But I cannot say "Everything, which 


Thus, then, appears the vanity of the hope of establish- 
ing a cognition which is to extend its rule beyond the limits 
of experience — a cognition which is one of the highest inter- 
ests of humanity; and thus is proved the futility of the at- 
tempt of speculative philosophy in this region of thought. 
But, in this interest of thought, the severity of criticism has 
rendered to reason a not unimportant service, by the demon- 
stration of the impossibility of making any dogmatical af- 
firmation concerning an object of experience beyond the 
boundaries of experience. She has thus fortified reason 
against all affirmations of the contrary. Now, this can be 
accomplished in only two ways. Either our proposition 
must be proved apodictically ; or, if this is unsuccessful, 
the sources of this inability must be sought for, and if these 
are discovered to exist in the natural and necessary limita- 
tion of our reason, our opponents must submit to the same 
law of renunciation, and refrain from advancing claims to 
dogmatic assertion. 

But the right, say rather the necessity to admit a future 

thinks, exists"; for in this case the property of thought would constitute all 
beings possessing it, necessary beings. Hence my existence cannot be consid- 
ered as an inference from the proposition, "I think," as Des Cartes maintained 
— ^because in this case the major premise, "Everything, which thinks, exists," 
must precede — but, the two propositions are identical. The proposition, "I 
think," expresses an undetermined empirical intuition, that is, perception* 
(proving consequently that sensation, which must belong to sensibility, lies at 
the foundation of this proposition); but it precedes experience, whose province 
it is to determine an object of perception by means of the categories in relation 
to time ; and existence in this proposition is not a category, as it does not apply 
to an undetermined given object, but only to one of which we have a conception, 
and about which we wish to know whether it does or does not exist, out of, and 
apart from this conception. An undetermined perception signifies here merely 
something real that baa been given, only, however, to thought in general — but 
not as a phenomenon, nor as a thing in itself (noumenon), but only as something 
that really exists, and is designated as such in the proposition, "I think." For 
it must be remarked that, when I call the proposition, "I think," an empirical 
proposition, I do not thereby mean that the Ego in the proposition is an empir- 
ical representation; on the contrary, it is purely intellectual, because it belongs 
to thought in general. But without some empirical representation, which pre- 
sents to the mind material for thought, the mental act, "I Ihlnk," would not 
take place; and the empirical is only the condition of the application or employ- 
ment of the pure intellectual faculty. 

* See page 291.— 2V. 


life, upon principles of tlie practical conjoined with tlie 
speculative use of reason, has lost nothing by this renuncia- 
tion; for the merely speculative proof has never had any 
influence upon the common reason of men. It stands upon 
the point of a hair, so that even the schools have been able 
to preserve it from falling only by incessantly discussing it 
and spinning it like a top; and even in their eyes it has 
never been able to present any safe foundation for the erec- 
tion of a theory. The proofs which have been current 
among men, preserve their value undiminished; nay, rather 
gain in clearness and unsophisticated power, by the rejec- 
tion of the dogmatical assumptions of speculative reason. 
For reason is thus confined within her own peculiar province 
— the arrangement of ends or aims, which is at the same 
time the arrangement of nature; and, as a practical faculty, 
without limiting itself to the latter, it is justified in extend- 
ing the former, and with it our own existence, beyond the 
boundaries of experience and life. If we turn our attention 
to the analogy of the nature oi living beings in this world, in 
the consideration of which reason is obliged to accept as a 
principle, that no organ, no faculty, no appetite is useless, 
and that nothing is superfluous, nothing disproportionate to 
its use, nothing unsuited to its end; but that, on the con- 
trary, everything is perfectly conformed to its destination 
in life — we shall find that man, who alone is the final end 
and aim of this order, is still the only animal that seems 
to be excepted from it. For his natural gifts, not merely 
as regards the talents and motives that may incite him to 
employ them, but especially the moral law in him, stretch 
so far beyond all mere earthly utility and advantage, that 
he feels himself bound to prize the mere consciousness of 
probity, apart from all advantageous consequences — even 
the shadowy gift of posthumous fame — above everything; 
and he is conscious of an inward call to constitute himself, 
by his conduct in this world — without regard to mere sub- 
lunary interests — the citizen of a ' better. This mighty, irre- 
sistible proof — accompanied by an ever- increasing knowledge 


of the conformability to a purpose in everything we see 
around us, by the conviction of the boundless immensity 
of creation, by the consciousness of a certain illimitableness 
in the possible extension of our knowledge, and by a desire 
commensurate therewith — remains to humanity, even after 
the theoretical cognition of ourselves has failed to establish 
the necessity of an existence after death. 

Conclusion of the Solution of the Psychological Paralogism 

The dialectical illusion -in rational psychology arises from 
our confounding an idea of reason (of a pure intelligence) 
with the conception — in every respect undetermined — of a 
thinking being in general. I cogitate myself in behalf of 
a possible experience, at the same time making abstraction 
of all actual experience; and infer therefrom that I can be 
conscious of myself apart from experience and its empirical 
conditions. I consequently confound the possible abstrac- 
tion of my empirically determined existence with the sup- 
posed consciousness of a possible separate existence of my 
thinking self; and I believe that I cognize what is substan- 
tial in myself as a transcendental subject, when I have noth- 
ing more in thought than the unity of consciousness, which 
lies at the basis of all determination of cognition. 

The task of explaining the community of the soul with 
the body does not properly belong to the psychology of 
which we are here speaking; because it proposes to prove 
the personality of the soul apart from this communion (after 
death), and is therefore transcendent in the proper sense of 
the word, although occupying itself with an object of experi- 
ence — only in so far, however, as it ceases to be an object 
of experience. But a sufhcient answer may be found to the 
question in our system. The difficulty which lies in the exe- 
cution of this task consists, as is well known, in the presup- 
posed heterogeneity of the object of the internal sense (the 
soul) and the objects of the external senses; inasmuch as 
the formal condition of the intuition of the one is time, and 


of that of the other space also. But if we consider that both 
kinds of objects do not differ internally, but only in so far 
as the one appears externally to the other — consequently, 
that what lies at the basis of phenomena, as a thing in itself, 
may not be heterogeneous; this difficulty disappears. There 
then remains no other difficulty than is to be found in the 
question — how a community of substances is possible; a 
question which lies out of the region of psychology, and 
which the reader, after what in our Analytic has been said 
of primitive forces and faculties, will easily judge to be also 
beyond the region of human cognition. 

Geneeal Eemark 
On the Transition from Rational Psychology to Cosmology 

The proposition "I think," or, "1 exist thinking," is 
an empirical proposition. But such a proposition must be 
based on empirical intuition, and the object cogitated as a 
phenomenon; and thus our theory appears to maintain that 
the soul, even in thought, is merely a phenomenon; and 
in this way our consciousness itself, in fact, abuts upon 

Thought, per se, is merely the purely spontaneous logical 
function which operates to connect the manifold of a possi- 
ble intuition; and it does not represent the subject of con- 
sciousness as a phenomenon — for this reason alone, that it 
pays no attention to the question whether the mode of 
intuiting it is sensuous or intellectual. I therefore do not 
represent myself in thought either as I am, or as I appear 
to myself; I merely cogitate myself as an object in general, 
of the mode of intuiting which I make abstraction. When 
I represent myself as the subject of thought, or as the ground 
of thought, these modes of representation are not related to 
the categories of substance or of cause ; for these are func- 
tions of thought applicable only to our sensuous intuition. 
The application of these categories to the Ugo would, how- 
ever, be necessary, if I wished to make myself an object of 


knowledge. But I wish to be conscious of myself only as 
thinking; in what mode my Self is given in intuition, I 
do not consider, and it may be that I, who think, am a phe- 
nomenon — although not in so far as I am a thinking being; 
but in the consciousness of myself in mere thought I am 
a being, though thiB consciousness does not present to me 
any property of this being as material for thought. 

But the proposition "I think," in so far as it declares, 
"I exist thinking," is not the mere representation of a logi- 
cal function. It determines the subject (which is in this 
case an object also) in relation to existence; and it cannot 
be given without the aid of the internal sense, whose intui- 
tion presents to us an object, not as a thing in itself, but 
always as a phenomenon. In this proposition there is there- 
fore something more to be found than the mere spontaneity 
of thought; there is also the receptivity of intuition, that is, 
my thought of myself applied to the empirical intuition 
of myself. Now, in this intuition the thinking self must 
seek the conditions of the employment of its logical func- 
tions as categories of substance, cause, and so forth; not 
merely for the purpose of distinguishing itself as an object 
in itself by means of the representation /, but also for the 
purpose of determining the mode of its existence, that is, of 
cognizing itself as noumenon. But this is impossible, for 
the internal empirical intuition is sensuous, and presents us 
with nothing but phenomenal data, which do not assist the 
object of pure consciousness in its attempt to cognize itself 
as a separate existence, but are useful only as contributions 
to experience. 

But, let it be granted that we could discover, not in 
experience, but in certain firmly-established a priori Jaws 
of the use of pure reason — laws relating to our existence, 
authority to consider ourselves as legislating a priori in 
relation to our own existence and as determining this exist- 
ence; we should, on this supposition, find ourselves pos- 
sessed of a spontaneity, by which our actual existence 
would be determinable, without the aid of the conditions 


of empirical intuition. "We sbould also become aware, that 
in tlie consciousness of our existence there was an a priori 
content, wliich would serve to determine our own existence 
— an existence only sensuously determinable — relatively, 
however, to a certain internal faculty in relation to an 
intelligible world. 

But this would not give the least help to the attempts of 
rational psychology. For this wonderful faculty, which the 
consciousness of the moral law in me reveals, would present 
me with a principle of the determination of my own exist- 
ence which is purely intellectual — but by what predicates ? 
By none other than those which are given in sensuous intui- 
tion. Thus I should find myself in the same position in 
rational psychology which I formerly occupied, that is ta 
say, I should find myself still in need of sensuous intuitions, 
in order to give significance to my conceptions of substance 
and cause, by means of which alone I can possess a knowl- 
edge of myself: but these intuitions can never raise me 
above the sphere of experience. I should be justified, how- 
ever, in applying these conceptions, in regard to their prac- 
tical use, which is always directed to objects of experience — 
in conformity with their analogical significance when em- 
ployed theoretically — to freedom and its subject.' At the 
same time, I should understand by them merely the logical 
functions of subject and predicate, of principle and conse- 
quence, in conformity with which all actions are so deter- 
mined, that they are capable of being explained along with 
the laws of nature, conformably to the categories of sub- 
stance and cause, although they originate from a very 
different principle. We have made these observations for 
the purpose of guarding against misunderstanding, to which 
the doctrine of our intuition of self as a phenomenon is 
exposed. We shall have occasion to perceive their utility 
in the sequel. 

■ The Ego.— 2V. 




We showed in tlie introduction to tHs part of onr work, 
that all transcendental illusion of pure reason arose from 
dialectical arguments, the schema of which logic gives us in 
its three formal species of syllogisms — just as the categories 
find their logical schema in the four functions of all judg- 
ments. The first kind of these sophistical arguments related 
to the unconditioned unity of the subjective conditions of all 
representations in general (of the subject or soul), in cor- 
respondence with the categorical syllogisms, the major of 
which, as the principle, enounces the relation of a predicate 
to a subject. The second kind of dialectical argument will 
therefore be concerned, following the analogy with hypo- 
thetical syllogisms, with the unconditioned unity of the 
objective conditions in the phenomenon; and, in this way, 
the theme of the third kind to be treated of in the following 
chapter, will be the unconditioned unity of the objective 
conditions of the possibility of objects in general. 

But it is worthy of remark, that the transcendental 
paralogism produced in the mind only a one-sided illusion, 
in regard to the idea of the subject of our thought; and the 
conceptions of reason gave no ground to maintain the con- 
trary proposition. The advantage is completely on the side 
of Pneumatism; although this theory itself passes into 
naught, in the crucible of pure reason. 

Very different is the case, when we apply reason to the 
objective synthesis of phenomena. Here, certainly, reason 
establishes, with much plausibility, its principle of uncon- 
ditioned unity; but it very soon falls into such contradic- 
tions, that it is compelled, in relation to cosmology, to 
renounce iti pretensions. 


For here a new pheaomenon of human reason meets us — 
a perfectly natural antithetic, which does not require to be 
sought for by subtle sophistry, but into which reason of 
itself unavoidably falls. It is thereby preserved, to be sure, 
from the slumber of a fancied conviction — which a merely 
one-sided illusion produces; but it is at the same time com- 
pelled, either, on the one hand, to abandon itself to a de- 
spairing scepticism, or, on the other, to assume a dogmatical 
confidence and obstinate persistence in certain assertions, 
without granting a fair hearing to the other side of the ques- 
tion. Either is the death of a sound philosophy, although 
the former might perhaps deserve the title of the Euthanasia 
of pure reason. 

Before entering this region of discord and confusion, 
which the conflict of the laws of pure reason (antinomy) 
produces, we shall present the reader with some considera- 
tions, in explanation and justification of the method we 
intend to follow in our treatment of this subject. I term all 
transcendental ideas, in so far as they relate to the absolute 
totality in the synthesis of phenomena, cosmical conceptions; 
partly on account of this unconditioned totality, on which 
the conception of the world-whole is based — a conception 
which is itself an idea — partly because they relate solely to 
the synthesis of phenomena — 'the empirical synthesis; while, 
on the other hand, the absolute totality in the synthesis of the 
conditions of all possible things gives rise to an ideal of pure 
reason, which is quite distinct from the cosmical conception, 
although it stands in relation with it. Hence, as the paralo- 
gisms of pure reason laid the foundation for a dialectical 
psychology, the antinomy of pure reason will present us 
with the transcendental principles of a pretended pure 
(rational) cosmology — not, however, to declare it valid and 
to appropriate it, but — as the very term of a conflict of reason 
sufiiciently indicates, to present it as an idea which cannot 
be reconciled with phenomena and experience. 



Section First 

System of Cosmohgical Ideas 

That we may be able to enumerate with systematic pre- 
cision these ideas according to a principle, we must remark, 
in the first place, that it is from the understanding alone that 
pure and transcendental conceptions take their origin; that 
the reason does not properly give birth to any conception, 
but only frees the conception of the understanding from the 
unavoidable limitation of a possible experience, and thus 
endeavors to raise it above the empirical, though it must 
still be in connection with it. This happens from the fact, 
that for a given conditioned, reason demands absolute total- 
ity on the side of the conditions (to which the understand- 
ing submits all phenomena), and thus makes of the category 
a transcendental idea. This it does that it may be able to 
give absolute completeness to the empirical synthesis, by 
continuing it to the unconditioned (which is not to be found 
in experience, but only in the idea). Reason requires this 
according to the principle, If the conditioned is given, the 
whole of the conditions, and consequently the absolutely uncon- 
ditioned, is also given, whereby alone the former was possible. 
First, then, the transcendental ideas are properly nothing 
but categories elevated to the unconditioned; and they may 
be arranged in a table according to the titles of the latter. 
But, secondly, all the categories are not available for this 
purpose, but only those in which the synthesis constitutes a 
series — of conditions subordinated to, not co-ordinated with, 
each other. Absolute totality is required of reason only in 
so far as concerns the ascending series of the conditions of 
a conditioned; not, consequently, when the question relates 
to the descending series of consequences, or to the aggre- 
gate of the co-ordinated conditions of these consequences. 
For, in relation to a given conditioned, conditions are pre- 


supposed and considered to be given along with it. On the 
other hand, as the consequences do not render possible their 
conditions, but rather presuppose them — in the considera- 
tion of the procession of consequences (or in the descent 
from the given condition to the conditioned), we may be 
quite unconcerned whether the series ceases or not; and 
their totality is not a necessary demand of reason. 

Thus we cogitate — and necessarily — a given time com- 
pletely elapsed up to a given moment, although that time is 
not determinable by us. But as regards time future, which 
is not the condition of arriving at the present, in order to 
conceive it; it is quite indifferent whether we consider 
future time as ceasing at some point, or as prolonging itself 
to infinity. Take, for example, the series m, n, o, in which 
n is given as conditioned in relation to m, but at the same 
time as the condition of o, and let the series proceed upward 
from the conditioned n to m {I, k, i, etc.), and also down- 
ward from the condition n to the conditioned o (p, q, r, 
etc.) — I must presuppose the former series, to be able to 
consider n as given, and n is according to reason (the totality 
of conditions) possible only by means of that series. Bat 
its possibility does not rest on the following series o, p, q, r, 
which for this reason cannot be regarded as given, but only 
as capable of being given {dahilis). 

I shall term the synthesis of the series on the side of the 
conditions — from that nearest to the given phenomenon up 
to the more remote — regressive; that which proceeds on the 
side of the conditioned, from the immediate consequence to 
the more remote, I shall call ihQ progressive synthesis. The 
former proceeds in antecedentia, the latter in consequentia. 
The cosmological ideas are therefore occupied with the 
totality of the regressive synthesis, and proceed in ante- 
cedentia, not in consequentia. When the latter takes place, it 
is an arbitrary and not a necessary problem of pure reason ; 
for we require, for the complete understanding of what is 
given in a phenomenon, not the consequences which suc- 
ceed, but the grounds or principles which precede. 


In order to construct the table of ideas in correspondence 
witli the table of categories, we take first the two primitive 
quccnta of all our intuition, time and space. Time is in itself 
a series (and the formal condition of all series), and hence, 
in relation to a given present, we must distinguish o priori in 
it the antecedentia as conditions (time past) from the con- 
sequentia (time future). Consequently, the transcendental 
idea of the absolute totality of the series of the condi- 
tions of a given conditioned, relates merely to all past time. 
According to the idea of reason, the whole past time, as the 
condition of the given moment, is necessarily cogitated as 
given. But as regards space, there exists in it no distinc- 
tion between progressus and regressus ; for it is an aggregate 
and not a series — ^its parts existing together at the same 
time. I can consider a given point of time in relation to 
past time only as conditioned, because this given moment 
comes into existence only through the past time — or rather 
through the passing of the preceding time. But as the parts 
of space are not subordinated, but co-ordinated to each 
other, one part cannot be the condition of the possibility 
of the other; and space is not in itself, like time, a series. 
But the synthesis of the manifold parts of space — (the syn- 
thesis whereby we apprehend space) — is nevertheless suc- 
cessive; it takes place, therefore, in time, and contains a 
series. And as in this series of aggregated spaces (for ex- 
ample, the feet in a rood), beginning with a given portion of 
space, those which continue to be annexed form the condi- 
tion of the limits of the former — the measurement of a space 
must also be regarded as a synthesis of the series of the 
conditions of- a given conditioned. It differs, however, in 
this respect from that of time, that the side of the condi- 
tioned is not in itself distinguishable from the side of the 
condition; and, consequently, regressus and progressus in 
space seem to be identical. But, inasmuch as one part of 
space is not given, but only limited, by and through another, 
we must also consider every limited space as conditioned, in 
so far as it presupposes some other space as the condition of 


its limitation, and so on. As regards limitation, therefore, 
our procedure in space is also a regressus, and the transcen- 
dental idea of the absolute totality of the synthesis in a 
series of conditions applies to space also; and I am entitled 
to demand the absolute totality of the phenomenal synthesis 
in space as well as in time. Whether my demand can be 
satisfied, is a question to be answered in the sequel. 

Secondly, the real in space — that is, matter, is conditioned. 
Its internal conditions are its parts, and the parts of parts its 
remote conditions; so that in this case we find a regressive 
synthesis, the absolute totality of which is a demand of 
reason. But this cannot be obtained otherwise than by a 
complete division of parts, whereby the real in matter be- 
comes either nothing or that which is not matter, that is to 
say, the simple.' Consequently we find here also a series 
of conditions and a progress to the unconditioned. 

Thirdly, as regards the categories of a real relation be- 
tween phenomena, the category of substance and its accidents 
is not suitable for the formation of a transcendental idea; 
that is to say, reason has no ground, in regard to it, to pro- 
ceed regressively with conditions. For accidents (in so far 
as they inhere in a substance) are co-ordinated with each 
other, and do not constitute a series. And, in relation to 
substance, they are not properly subordinated to it, but are 
the mode of existence of the substance itself. The concep- 
tion of the substantial might nevertheless seem to be an idea 
of the transcendental reason. But, as this signifies nothing 
more than the conception of an object in general, which 
subsists in so far as we cogitate in it merely a transcendental 
subject without any predicates; and as the question here is 
of an unconditioned in the series of phenomena — it is clear 
that the substantial can form no member thereof. The same 
holds good of substances in community, which are mere 
aggregates, and do not form a series. For they are not sub- 
ordinated to each other as conditions of the possibility of 

' Das Einfache. 


each other; which, however, may be affirmed of spaces, the 
limits of which are never determined in themselves, but 
always by some other space. It is, therefore, only in the 
category of causality that we can find a series of causes to 
a given effect, and in which we ascend from the latter, 
as the conditioned, to the former as the conditions, and thus 
answer the question of reason. 

Fourthly, the conceptions of the "possible, the actual, and the 
necessary do not conduct us to any series — excepting only in 
BO far as the contingent in existence must always be regarded 
as conditioned, and as indicating, according to a law of the 
understanding, a condition, under which it is necessary 
to rise to a higher, till, in the totality of the series, reason 
arrives at unconditioned necessity. 

There are, accordingly, only four cosmological ideas, 
corresponding with the four titles of the categories. For we 
can select only such as necessarily furnish us with a series 
in the synthesis of the manifold. 


The absolute Completeness 

of the 


of the given totality of all phenomena. 

2 3 

The absolute Completeness The absolute Completeness 

of the of the 

Division Oeigination 

of a given totality of a phenomenon, 

in a phenomenon. 


The absolute Completeness 

of the Dependence of the Existence 

of what is changeable in a phenomenon. 

We must here remark, in the first place, that the Idea 
of absolute totality relates to nothing but the exposition of 
phenomena, and therefore not to the pure conception of a 
totality of things. Phenomena are here, therefore, regarded 


as given, and reason requires the absolute completeness of 
the conditions of their possibility, in so far as these condi- 
tions constitute a series — consequently an absolutely (that 
is, in every respect) complete synthesis, whereby a phe- 
nomenon can be explained according to the laws of the 

Secondly, it is properly the unconditioned alone that 
reason seeks in this serially and regressively conducted syn- 
thesis of conditions. It wishes, to speak in another way, 
to attain to completeness in the series of premises, so as to 
render it unnecessary to presuppose others. This uncondi- 
tioned is always contained in the absolute totality/ of the series, 
when we endeavor to form a representation of it in thought. 
But this absolutely complete synthesis is itself but an idea; 
for it is impossible, at least beforehand, to know whether 
any such synthesis is possible in the case of phenomena. 
When we represent all existence in thought by means of 
pure conceptions of the understanding, without any condi- 
tions of sensuous intuition, we may say with justice that 
for a given conditioned the whole series of conditions sub- 
ordinated to each other is also given; for the former is only 
given through the latter. But we find in the case of phe- 
nomena a particular limitation of the mode in which condi- 
tions are given, that is, through the successive synthesis of 
the manifold of intuition, which must be complete in the 
regress. Now whether this completeness is sensuously pos- 
sible, is a problem. But the idea of it lies in the reason — be 
it possible or impossible to connect with the idea adequate 
empirical conceptions. Therefore, as in the absolute totality 
of the regressive synthesis of the manifold in a phenomenon 
(following the guidance of the categories, which represent it 
as a series of conditions to a given conditioned) the uncon- 
ditioned is necessarily contained — it being still left unascer- 
tained whether and how this totality exists; reason sets out 
from the idea of totality, although its proper and final aim is 
the unconditioned — 'of the whole series, or of a part thereof. 

This unconditioned may be cogitated — either as existing 


only in the entire series, all the members of which therefore 
would be without exception conditioned and only the totality 
absolutely unconditioned — and in this case the regressus is 
called infinite ; or the absolutely unconditioned is only a part 
of the series, to which the other members are subordinated, 
but which is not itself submitted to any other condition.' 
In the former case the series is a parte priori unlimited 
(without beginning), that is, infinite, and nevertheless com- 
pletely given. But the regress in it is never completed, and 
can only be called potentially infinite. In the second case 
there exists a first in the series. This first is called, in rela- 
tion to past time, the beginning of the world ; in relation to 
space, the limit of the world; in relation to the parts of a 
given limited whole, the simple; in relation to causes, abso- 
lute spontaneity (liberty); and in relation to the existence 
of changeable things, absolute physical necessity. 

We possess two expressions, world and nature, which are 
generally interchanged. The first denotes the mathematical 
total of all phenomena and the totality of their synthesis — in 
its progress by means of composition, as well as by division. 
And the world is termed nature," whea it is regarded as a 
dynamical whole — when our attention is not directed to the 
aggregation in space and time, for the purpose of cogitating 
it as a quantity, but to the unity in the existence of phenom- 
ena. In this case the condition of that which happens is 
called a cause; the unconditioned causality of the cause 

' The absolute totality of the series o£ conditions to a given conditioned is 
alvraya unconditioned: because beyond it there exist no other conditions, on 
which it miglit depend. But the absolute totality of such a series is only 
an idea, or rather a problematical conception, the possibility of which must be 
investigated — particularly in relation to the mode in which the unconditioned, 
as the transcendental idea which is the real subject of inquiry, may be con- 
tained therein. 

' Nature, understood adjective (formaliter), signifies the complex of the de- 
terminations of a thing, connected according to an internal principle of causality. 
On the other hand, we understand by nature, substantive (materialiter), the 
sum-total of phenomena, in so far as they, by virtue of an internal principle of 
causality, are connected with each other throughout. In the former sense we 
speak of the nature of liquid matter, of fire, etc., and employ the world only 
adjective; while, if speaking of the objects of nature, we have in our minds the 
idea of a subsisting whole. 


in a phenomenon is termed liberty; the conditioned cause 
is called in a more limited sense a natural cause. The 
conditioned in existence is termed contingent, and the 
unconditioned necessary. The unconditioned necessity of 
phenomena may be called natural necessity. 

The ideas which we are at present engaged in discussing 
I have called cosmological ideas ; partly because by the term 
world is understood the entire content of all phenomena, and 
our ideas are directed solely to the unconditioned among 
phenomena; partly also, because world, in the transcen- 
dental sense, signifies the absolute totality of the content 
of existing things, and we are directing our attention only 
to the completeness of the synthesis — although, properly, 
only in regression. In regard to the fact that these ideas 
are all transcendent, and, although they do not transcend 
phenomena as regards their mode, but are concerned solely 
with the world of sense (and not with noumena), neverthe- 
less carry their synthesis to a degree far above all possible 
experience — it still seems to me that we can, with perfect 
propriety, designate them cosmical conceptions. As regards 
the distinction between the mathematically and the dynami- 
cally unconditioned which is the aim of the regression of 
the synthesis, I should call the two former, in a more 
limited signification, cosmical conceptions, the remaining 
two transcendent physical conceptions. This distinction does 
not at present seem to be of particular importance, but we 
shall afterward find it to be of some value. 


Sectiok Second 
Antithetic of Pure Reason 
Thetic is the term applied to every collection of dog- 
matical propositions. By antithetic I do not understand 
dogmatical assertions of the opposite, but the self-contradic- 
tion of seemingly dogmatical cognitions [thesis cum antithesi), 
in none of which we can discover any decided superiority. 


Antithetic is not therefore occupied with one-sided state- 
ments, but is engaged in considering the contradictory na- 
ture of the general cognitions of reason, and its causes. 
Transcendental antithetic is an investigation into the anti- 
nomy of pure reason, its causes and result. If we employ 
our reason not merely in the application of the principles of 
the understanding to objects of experience, but venture with 
it beyond these boundaries, there arise certain sophistical 
propositions or theorems. These assertions have the fol- 
lowing peculiarities: They can find neither confirmation 
nor confutation in experience; and each is in itself not 
only self-consistent, but possesses conditions of its neces- 
sity in the very nature of reason — only that, unluckily, there 
exist just as valid and necessary grounds for maintaining 
the contrary proposition. 

The questions which naturally arise in the consideration 
of this dialectic of pure reason are therefore: 1st. In what 
propositions is pure reason unavoidably subject to an. anti- 
nomy ? 2d. What are the causes of this antinomy ? 3d. 
Whether and in what way can reason free itself from this 
self-contradiction ? 

A dialectical proposition or theorem of pure reason, must, 
according to what has been said, be distinguishable from all 
sophistical propositions, by the fact that it is not an answer 
to an arbitrary question, which may be raised at the mere 
pleasure of any person, but to one which human reason must 
necessarily encounter in its progress. In the second place, a 
dialectical proposition, with its opposite, does not carry the 
appearance of a merely artificial illusion, which disappears 
as soon as it is investigated, but a natural and unavoidable 
illusion, which, even when we are no longer deceived by it, 
continues to mock us, and, although rendered harmless, can 
never be completely removed. 

This dialectical doctrine will not relate to the unity of 
understanding in empirical conceptions, but to the unity 
of reason in pure ideas. The conditions of this doctrine are 
— ^inasmuch as it must, as a synthesis according to rules, be 


conformable to tlie understanding, and at the same time as 
the absolute unity of the synthesis, to the reason — that, 
if it is adequate to the unity of reason, it is too great for 
the understanding, if according with the understanding, it is 
too small for the reason. Hence arises a mutual opposition, 
which cannot be avoided, do what we will. 

These sophistical assertions of dialectic open, as it were, 
a battlefield, where that side obtains the victory which has 
been permitted to make the attack, and he is compelled to 
yield who has been unfortunately obliged to stand on the 
defensive. And hence, champions of ability, whether on 
the right or on the wrong side, are certain to carry away the 
crown of victory, if they only take care to have the right to 
make the last attack, and are not obliged to sustain another 
onset from their opponent. We can easily believe that this 
arena has been often trampled by the feet of combatants, 
that many victories have been obtained on both sides, but 
that the last victory, decisive of the affair between the con- 
tending parties, was won by him who fought for the right, 
only if his adversary was forbidden to continue the tourney. 
As impartial umpires, we must lay aside entirely the con° 
sideration whether the combatants are fighting for the right 
or for the wrong side, for the true or for the false, and allow 
the combat to be first decided. Perhaps, after they have 
wearied more than injured each other, they will discover the 
nothingness of their cause of quarrel, and part good friends. 

This method of watching, or rather of originating, a con- 
flict of assertions, not for the purpose of finally deciding in 
favor of either side, but to discover whether the object of the 
struggle is not a mere illusion, which each strives in vain to 
reach, but which would be no gain even when reached — this 
procedure, I say, may be termed the sceptical method. It is 
thoroughly distinct from scepticism — the principle of a tech- 
nical and scientific ignorance, which undermines the foun- 
dations of all knowledge, in order, if possible, to destroy 
our belief and confidence therein. For the sceptical method 
aims at certainty, by endeavoring to discover in a conflict 


of this kind, conducted honestly and intelligently on both 
sides, the point of misunderstanding; just as wise legislators 
derive, from the embarrassment of judges in lawsuits, infor- 
mation in regard to the defective and ill- defined parts of 
their statutes. The antinomy which reveals itself in the 
application of laws, is for our limited wisdom the best cri- 
terion of legislation. For the attention of reason, which in 
abstract specula,tion does not easily become conscious of its 
errors, is thus roused to the momenta in the determination 
<af its principles. 

But this sceptical method is essentially peculiar to tran- 
scendental philosophy, and can perhaps be dispensed with 
in every other field of investigation. In mathematics its 
use would be absurd; because in it no false assertions can 
long remain hidden, inasmuch as its demonstrations must 
always proceed under the guidance of pure intuition, and 
by means of an always evident synthesis. In experimental 
philosophy doubt and delay may be very useful; but no , 
misunderstanding is possible which cannot be easily re- 
moved; and in experience means of solving the difficulty 
and putting an end to the dissension must at last be found, 
whether sooner or later. Moral philosophy can always ex- 
hibit its principles, with their practical consequences, in 
concreto — at least in possible experiences, and thus escape 
the mistakes and ambiguities of abstraction. But transcen- 
dental propositions, which lay claim to insight beyond the 
region of possible experience, cannot, on the one hand, ex- 
hibit their abstract synthesis in any a priori intuition, nor, 
on the other, expose a lurking error by the help of experi- 
ence. Transcendental reason, therefore, presents us with 
no other criterion than that of an attempt to reconcile such 
assertions, and for this purpose to permit a free and unre- 
strained conflict between them. And this we now proceed 
to arrange. ' 

' The antmomies stand in the order of the four transcendental ideas above 
XI — Science — 15 






The world has a beginning 
in time, anS is also limited in 
regard to space. 


Granted, that the world has 
no beginning in time; up to 
every given moment of time, 
an eternity must have elapsed, 
and therewith passed away an 
infinite series of successive 
conditions or states of things 
in the world. Now the infin- 
ity of a series consists in the 
fact, that it never can be 
completed by means of a suc- 
cessive syntaesis. It follows 
that an infinite series already 
elapsed is impossible, and that 
consequently a beginning of 
the world is a necessary con- 
dition of its existence. And 
this was the first thing to be 

As regards the second, let 
us take the opposite for 
granted. In this case, the 
world must be an infinite giv- 
en total of coexistent things. 
Now we cannot cogitate the 
dimensions of a quantity, 
which is not given within 
certain limits of an intui- 
tion,' in any other way than 

• We may consider an undetermined 
quantity as a whole, when it ia inclosed 


The world has no begin- 
ning, and no limits in space, 
but is, in relation botn to 
time and space, infinite. 


For let it be granted, that 
it has a beginning. A begin- 
ning is an existence which is 
preceded by a time in which 
the thing does not exist. On 
the above supposition, it fol- 
lows that there must have 
been a time in which the 
world did not exist, that is, 
a void time. But in a void 
time the origination of a thing 
is impossible; because no part 
of any such time contains a 
distinctive condition of being, 
in preference to that of non- 
being (whether the supposed 
thing originate of itself, or by 
means of some other cause). 
Consequently, many series of 
things may have a beginning 
in the world, but the world 
itself cannot have a begin- 
ning, and is, therefore, in re- 
lation to past time, infinite. 

As regards the second state- 
ment, let us first take the op- 
posite for granted — that the 
world is finite and limited iu 
space ; it follows that it must 
exist in a void space, which is 
not limited. We should there- 



by means of the synthesis' of 
its parts, and the total of such 
a quantity only by means of a 
completed synthesis, or the 
repeated addition of unity to 
itself. Accordingly, to cogi- 
tate the world, which fills all 
spaces, as a whole, the suc- 
cessive synthesis of the parts 
of an infinite world must be 
looked upon as completed, 
that is to say, an infinite time 
must be regarded as having 
elapsed in the enumeration of 
all coexisting things; wbich 
is impossible. For this reason 
an infinite aggregate of actual 
things cannot be considered as 
a given whole, consequently, 
not as a contemporaneously 
given whole. The world is 
consequently, as regards ex- 
tension in space, not infinite, 
but inclosed in limits. And 
this was the second thing to 
be proved. 

within limits, although we cannot con- 
struct or ascertain its totality by meas- 
urement, that, is, by the successive 
synthesis of its parts. For its limits 
of themselves determine its complete- 
ness as a whole. 

' What is meant by successive syn- 
thesis must be tolerably plain. If I am 
required to form some notion of a piece 
of land, I may assume an arbitrary 
standard — a mile, or an acre — and by 
the successive addition of mile to mile 
or acre to acre till the proper number 
is reached, construct for myself a notion 
of the size of the land.— 2V. 


fore meet not only with a re- 
lation of things in space, but 
also a relation of things to 
space. Now, as the world is 
an absolute whole, out of and 
beyond which no object of in- 
tuition, and consequently no 
correlate to which can be dis- 
covered, this relation of the 
world to a void space is mere- 
ly a relation to no object. But 
such a relation, and conse- 
quently the limitation of the 
world by void space, is noth- 
ing. Consequently, the world, 
as regards space, is not lim- 
ited, that is, it is infinite in 
regard to extension.' 

' Space is merely the form of exter- 
nal intuition (formal intuition), and not 
a real object which can be externally 
perceived. Space, prior to all tilings 
which determine ii (fill or limit it), or, 
rather, which present an empirical in- 
tuition conformable to it, is, under the 
title of absolute space, nothing but the 
mere possibility of external phenomena, 
in so far as they either exist in them- 
selves, or can annex themselves to 
given intuitions. Empirical intuition 
is therefore not a composition of phe- 
nomena and space (of perception and 
empty intuition). The one is not the 
correlate of the other in a synthesis, 
but they are vitally connected in the 
same empirical intuition, as matter and 
form. If we wish to set one of these 
two apart from the other — space from 
phenomena — there arise all sorts of 
empty determinations of external in- 
tuition, which are very far from being 
possible perceptions. For example, mo- 
tion or rest of the world in an infinite 
empty space, or a determination of the 
mutual relation of both, cannot possibly 
be perceived, and is therefore merely 
the predicate of a notional entity. 



Observations on the First Antinomy 

On the Tliesis 

In bringing forward these 
conflicting arguments, I have 
not been on the search for 
sophisms, for the purpose of 
availing myself of special 
pleading, which takes advan- 
tage of the carelessness of the 
opposite party, appeals to a 
misunderstood statute, and 
erects its unrighteous claims 
upon an unfair interpretation. 
Both proofs originate fairly 
from tne nature of the case, 
and the advantage presented 
by the mistakes of the dog- 
matists of both parties has 
been completely set aside. 

The thesis might also have 
been unfairly demonstrated, 
by the introduction of an er- 
roneous conception of the in- 
finity of a given quantity. 
A quantity is infinite, if a 
greater than itself cannot pos- 
sibly exist. The quantity is 
measured by the number of 
given units — which are taken 
as a standard — contained in 
it. Now no number can be 
the greatest, because one or 
more units can always be 
added. It follows that an 
infinite given quantity, con- 
sequently an infinite world 
(both as regards time and ex- 
tension) is impossible. It is, 
therefore, limited in both re- 
spects. In this manner I 
might have conducted my 
proof; but the conception 


On the Antithesis 
The proof in favor of the 
infinity of the cosmical suc- 
cession and the cosmical con- 
tent is based upon the consid- 
eration, that, in the opposite 
case, a void time and a void 
space must constitute the lim- 
its of the world. Now I am 
not unaware, that there are 
some ways of escaping this 
conclusion. It may, for ex- 
ample, be alleged, that a limit 
to the world, as regards both 
space and time, is quite possi- 
ble, without at the same time 
holding the existence of an ab- 
solute time before the begin- 
ning of the world, or an abso- 
lute space extending beyond 
the actual world — which is 
impossible. I am quite well 
satisfied with the latter part 
of this opinion of the phi- 
losophers of the Leibnitzian 
school. Space is merely the 
form of external intuition, 
but not a real object which 
can itself be externally in- 
tuited; it is not a correlate 
of phenomena, it is the form 
of phenomena itself. Space, 
therefore, cannot be regarded 
as absolutely and in itself 
something determinative of 
the existence of things, be- 
cause it is not itself an ob- 
ject, but only the form of pos- 
sible objects. Consequently, 
things, as phenomena, deter- 
mine space; that is to say, 



givem in it does not agree 
with the true conception of an 
infinite whole. In this there 
is no representation of its 
quantity, it is not said how 
large it is; consequently its 
conception is not the concep- 
tion of a maximum. We 
cogitate in it merely its rela- 
tion to an arbitrarily assumed 
unit, in relation to which it 
is greater than any number. 
Now, just as the unit which 
is taken is greater or smaller, 
the infinite will be greater or 
smaller; but the infinity, 
which consists merely in the 
relation to this given unit, 
must remain always the same, 
although the absolute quan- 
tity of the whole is not there- 
by cognized. 

The true (transcendental) 
conception of infinity is: that 
the successive synthesis of 
unity in the measurement of 
a given quantum can never 
be completed.' Hence it fol- 
lows, without possibility of 
mistake, that an eternity of 
actual successive states up to 
a given (the present) moment 
cannot have elapsed, and that 
the world must therefore have 
a beginning. 

In regard to the second 
part of the thesis, the diffi- 
culty as to an infinite ^nd yet 

> The quantum in this sense contains 
a congeries oi given units, which is 
greater than any number — and this 
is the mathematical conception of the 


they render it possible that, 
of all the possible predicates 
of space (size and relation), 
certain may belong to reality. 
But we cannot affirm the con- 
verse, that space, as some- 
thing self-subsistent, can de- 
termine real things in regard 
to size or shape, for it is in 
itself not a real thing. Space 
(filled or void)' may therefore 
be limited by phenomena, but 

Ehenomena cannot be limited 
y an empty space without 
them. This is true of time 
also. All this being granted, 
it is nevertheless indisputable, 
that we must assume these two 
nonentities, void space with, 
out and void time before the 
world, if we assume the ex- 
istence of cosmical limits, rela- 
tively to space or time. 

For, as regards the subter- 
fuge adopted by those who 
endeavor to evade the conse- 
quence — that, if the world is 
limited as to space and time, 
the infinite void must deter- 
mine the existence of actual 
things in regard to their di- 
mensions — it arises solely 
from the fact that, instead 
of a sensuous world, an intel- 

' It is evident that what is meant 
here is, that empty space, in so far 
as it is limited by phenomena — space, 
that is, within, the world — does not at 
least contradict transcendental princi- 
ples, and may therefore, as regards 
them, be admitted, although its pos- 
sibility cannot on that account be 




ligible world — of which noth- 
ing is known — is cogitated; 
instead of a real beginning 
(an existence, which is pre- 
ceded by a period in which 
nothing exists), an existence 
which presupposes no other 
condition than that of time; 
and, instead of limits of ex- 
tension, boundaries of the 
universe. But the question 
relates to the mundus phe- 
nomenon, and its quantity; 
and in this case we cannot 
make abstraction of the con- 
ditions of sensibility, with- 
out doing away with the es- 
sential reality of this world 
itself. The world of sense, 
if it is limited, must neces- 
sarily lie in the infinite void. 
If this, and with it space as 
the a priori condition of the 
possibility of phenomena, is 
left out of view, the whole 
world of sense disappears. In 
our problem is this alone con- 
sidered as given. The mun- 
dus intelligibilis is nothing but 
the general conception of a 
world, in which abstraction 
has been made of all condi- 
tions of intuition, and in re- 
lation to which no synthetical 
proposition — either affirma- 
tive or negative — is possible. 




elapsed series disappears; for 
the manifold of a world in- 
finite in extension is contem- 
poraneously given. But, in 
order to cogitate the total of 
this manifold, as we cannot 
have the aid of limits consti- 
tuting by themselves this total 
in intuition, we are obliged to 
give some account of our con- 
ception, which in this case 
cannot proceed from the 
whole to the determined 
quantity of the parts, but 
must demonstrate the possi- 
bility of a whole by means of 
a successive synthesis of the 
parts. But as this synthesis 
must constitute a series that 
cannot be completed, it is 
impossible for us to cogitate 
prior to it, and consequently 
not by means of it, a totality. 
For the conception of totality 
itself is in the present case the 
representation of a completed 
synthesis of the parts; and 
this completion, and conse- 
quently its conception, is im- 

Every composite substance 
in the world consists of sim- 

No composite thing in the 
world consists of simple parts; 




pie parts; and there exists 
nothing that is not either 
itself simple, or composed of 
simple parts. 


For, grant that composite 
substances do not consist of 
simple parts; in this case, if 
all combination or compo- 
sition were annihilated in 
thought, no composite part, 
and (as, by the supposition, 
there do not exist simple 
parts) no simple part would 
exist. Consequently, no sub- 
stance ; consequently, noth- 
ing would exist. Either, 
then, it is impossible to anni- 
hilate composition in thought; 
or, after such annihilation, 
there must remain something 
that subsists without compo- 
sition, that is, something that 
is simple. But in the former 
case the composite could not 
itself consist of substances, 
because with substances com- 
position is merely a con- 
tingent relation, apart from 
which they must still exist as 
self-subsistent beings. Now, 
as this case contradicts the 
supposition, the second must 
contain the truth — that the 
substantial composite in the 
world consists of simple parts. 
It follows as an immediate 
inference, that the things in 
the world are all, without ex- 
ception, simple beings — that 
composition is merely an ex- 
ternal condition pertaining to 


and there does not exist in the 
world any simple substance. 


Let it be supposed that a 
composite thing ^as substance) 
consists of simple parts. In- 
asmuch as all external rela- 
tion, consequently all com- 
position of substances, is 
possible only in space; the 
space, occupied by that which 
is composite, must consist of 
the same number of parts as 
is contained in the composite. 
But space does not consist of 
simple parts, but of spaces. 
Therefore, every part of the 
composite must occupy a 
space. But the absolutely 
primary parts of what is 
composite are simple. It 
follows that what is simple 
occupies a space. Now, as 
everything real that occupies 
a space, contains a manifold 
the parts of which are exter- 
nal to each other, and is con- 
sequently composite — and a 
real composite, not of acci- 
dents (for these cannot exist 
external to each other apart 
from substance), but of sub- 
stances — it follows that the 
simple must be a substantial 
composite, which is self -con- 

The second proposition of 
the antithesis — that there ex- 
ists in the world nothing that 
is simple — is here equivalent 




them — and that, although we 
never can separate and isolate 
the elementary substances 
from the state of composition, 
reason must cogitate these as 
the primary subjects of all 
composition, and consequent- 
ly, as prior thereto — and as 
simple substances. 


to the following: The exist- 
ence of the absolutely simple 
cannot be demonstrated from 
any experience or perception 
either external or internal; 
and the absolutely simple is 
a mere idea, the objective re- 
ality of which cannot be dem- 
onstrated in any possible ex- 
perience; it is consequently, 
in the exposition of phenom- 
ena, without application and 
object. For, let us take for 

f ranted that an object may 
e found in experience for 
this transcendental idea; the 
empirical intuition of such an 
object must then be recog- 
nized to contain absolutely 
no manifold with its parts 
external to each other, and 
connected into unity. Now, 
as we cannot reason from the 
non-consciousness of such a 
manifold to the impossibility 
of its existence in the intui- 
tion of an object, and as the 
proof of this impossibility is 
necessary for the establish- 
ment and proof of absolute 
simplicity; it follows, that 
this simplicity cannot be in- 
ferred from any perception 
whatever. As, therefore, an 
absolutely simple object can- 
not be given in any experi- 
ence, and the world of sense 
must be considered as the 
sum-total of all possible ex- 
periences ; nothing simple 
exists in the world. 

This second proposition in 
the antithesis has a more ex- 



Thesis A ntithesis 

tended aim than the first. 
The first merely banishes the 
simple from the intuition of 
the composite ; while the sec- 
ond drives it entirely out of 
nature. Hence we were un- 
able to demonstrate it from 
the conception of a given ob- 
ject of external intuition (of 
the composite), but we were 
obliged to prove it from the 
relation of a given object to a 
possible experience in general. 

Observations on the Second Antinomy 

On the Antithesis 
Against the assertion of the 
infinite subdi visibility of mat- 
ter, whose ground of proof is 
purely mathematical, objec- 
tions have been alleged by 
the Monadists. These objec- 
tions lay themselves open, at 
first sight, to suspicion, from 
the fact that they do not rec- 
ognize the clearest mathemat- 
ical proofs as propositions re- 
lating to the constitution of 
space, in so far as it is really 
the formal condition of the 
possibility of all matter, but 
regard them merely as infer- 
ences from abstract but arbi- 
trary conceptions, which can- 
not have any application to 
real things. Just as if it were 
possible to imagine another 
mode of intuition than that 
given in the primitive intui- 
tion of space; and just as if 
its a priori determinations did 

On the Thesis 
When I speak of a whole, 
which necessarily consists of 
simple parts, I understand 
thereby only a substantial 
whole, as the true composite ; 
that is to say, I understand 
that contingent unity of the 
manifold which is given as 
perfectly isolated (at least in 
thought), placed in reciprocal 
connection, and thus consti- 
tuted a unity. Space ought 
not to be called a compositum, 
but a totum, for its parts are 
possible in the whole, and 
not the whole by means of 
the parts. It might perhaps 
be called a compositum ideate, 
but not a compositum reale. 
But this is of no importance. 
As space is not a composite 
of suDstances (and not even 
of real accidents), if I ab- 
stract all composition therein 
— nothing, not even a point, j 




remains; for a point is pos- 
sible only as the limit of 
a space — consequently of a 
composite. Space and time, 
therefore, do not consist of 
simple parts. That which be- 
longs only to the condition 
or state oi a substance, even 
although it possesses a quan- 
tity (motion or change, for 
example), likewise does not 
consist of simple parts. That 
is to say, a certain degree of 
change does not originate 
from the addition of many 
simple changes. Our infer- 
ence of the simple from the 
composite is valid only of 
self-subsisting things. But 
the accidents of a state 
are not self-subsistent. The 
proof, then, for the necessity 
of the simple, as the compo- 
nent part of all that is sub- 
stantial and composite, may 
prove a failure, and the whole 
case of this thesis be lost, if 
we carry the proposition too 
far, and wish to make it valid 
of everything that is com- 
posite without distinction — 
as indeed has really now and 
then happened. Besides, I 
am here speaking only of the 
simple, in so far as it is neces- 
sarily given in the composite 
— the latter being capable of 
solution into the former as its 
component parts. The proper 
signification of the word 
monas (as employed by Leib- 
nitz) ought to relate to the 
simple, given immediately as 


not apply to everything, the 
existence of whicn is possi- 
ble, from the fact alone of its 
filling space. If we listen to 
them, we shall find ourselves 
required to cogitate, in ad- 
dition to the mathematical 
Eoint, which is simple — not, 
owever, a part, but a mere 
limit of space — physical 
points, which are indeed 
likewise simple, but possess 
the peculiar property, as parts 
of space, of filling it merely 
by their aggregation. I shall 
not repeat Tiere the common 
and clear refutations of this 
absurdity, which are to be 
found everywhere in num- 
bers: every one knows that 
it is impossible to undermine 
the evidence of mathematics 
by mere discursive concep- 
tions; I shall only remark, 
that, if in this case philoso- 
phy endeavors to gain an ad- 
vantage over mathematics by 
sophistical artifices, it is be- 
cause it forgets that the dis- 
cussion relates solely to phe- 
nomena and their conditions. 
It is not sufficient to find the 
conception of the simple for 
the pure conception of the 
composite, but we must dis- 
cover for the intuition of the 
composite (matter), the intui- 
tion of the simple. Now this, 
according to the laws of sen- 
sibility, and consequently in 
the case of objects of sense, 
is utterly impossible. In the 
case of a whole composed of 




simple substance (for exam- 
ple, in consciousness), and 
not as an element of the 
composite. As an element, 
the term atomus' would be 
more appropriate. And as I 
wish to prove the existence 
of simple substances, only in 
relation to, and as the ele- 
ments of, the composite, I 
might term the antithesis of 
the second Antinomy, tran- 
scendental Atomistic. But as 
this word has long been em- 
ployed to designate a particu- 
lar theory of corporeal phe- 
nomena (moleculce), and thus 
presupposes a basis of em- 
pirical conceptions, I prefer 
calling it the dialectical prin- 
ciple of Monadology. 

' A masculine fonned by Kant, in- 
stead of the common neuter atomon, 
wliicli is generally translated in lie 
scholastic philosophy by the terms in- 
separable, indiscernible, simplex. Kant 
wished to have a term opposed to mo- 
nas, and so hit upon this ajra$ \€y6n€Poy. 
"With Democritus aroim, and with Cic- 
ero atomus is feminine. — Note by Rosen- 


substances, which is cogitated 
solely by the pure understand- 
ing, it may be necessary to be 
in possession of the simple 
before composition is possi- 
ble. But this does not hold 
good of the Totum substantiate 
phenomenon, which, as an em- 
pirical intuition in space, pos- 
sesses the necessary property 
of containing no simple part, 
for the very reason, that no 
part of space is simple. 
Meanwhile, the Monadists 
have been subtle enough to 
escape from this difficulty, by 
presupposing intuition and 
the dynamical relation of 
substances as the condition 
of the possibility of space, 
instead of regarding space as 
the condition of the possibil- 
ity of the objects of external 
intuition, that is, of bodies. 
Now we have a conception 
of bodies only as phenomena, 
and, as such, they necessarily 
presuppose space as the con- 
dition of all external phenom- 
ena. The evasion is tlierefore 
in vain; as, indeed, we have 
sufficiently shown in our .Es- 
thetic. If bodies were things 
in themselves, the proof of the 
Monadists would be unexcep- 

The second dialectical as- 
sertion possesses the peculi- 
arity of having opposed to 
it a dogmatical proposition, 
which, among all such sophis- 
tical statements, is the only 
one that undertakes to prove 





in the case of an object of ex- 
perience, that which is prop- 
erly a transcendental idea — > 
the absolute simplicity of sub- 
stance. The proposition is, 
that the object of the inter- 
nal sense, the thinking Ego, 
is an absolute simple sub- 
stance. Without at present 
entering upon this subject — 
as it has been considered at 
length in a former chapter — 
I shall merely remark, that, if 
something is cogitated merely 
as an object, without the ad- 
dition of any synthetical de- 
termination of its intuition — 
as happens in the case of the 
bare representation, I — it is 
certain that no manifold and 
no composition can be per- 
ceived in such a representa- 
tion. As, moreover, the pred- 
icates whereby I cogitate this 
object are merely intuitions 
of the internal sense, there 
cannot be discovered in them 
anything to prove the ex- 
istence of a manifold whose 
parts are external to each oth- 
er, and consequently, nothing 
to prove the existence of real 
composition. Consciousness, 
therefore, is so constituted, 
that, inasmuch as the think- 
ing subject is at the same 
time its own object, it cannot 
divide itself — although it can 
divide its inhering determina- 
tions. For every object in 
relation to itself is absolute 
unity. Nevertheless, if the 
subject is regarded externally, 



Thesis Antithesis 

as an object of intuition, it 
must, in its character of phe- 
nomenon, possess the prop- 
erty of composition. And it 
must always be regarded in 
this manner, if we wish to 
know, whether there is or is 
not contained in it a mani- 
fold whose parts are external 
to each other. 



Thesis Antithesis 

Causality, according to the 
laws of nature, is not the only 
causality operating to origi- 
nate the pnenomena of the 
world. A causality of free- 
dom is also necessary to ac- 
count fully for these phe- 


Let it be supposed, that 
there is no other kind of 
causality than that according 
to the laws of nature. Conse- 
quently, everything that hap- 
pens presupposes a previous 
condition, which it follows 
with absolute certainty, in 
conformity with a rule. But 
this previous condition must 
itself be something that has 
happened (that has arisen in 
time, as it did not exist be- 
fore), for, if it has always 
been in existence, its conse- 
quence or effect would not 
thus originate for the first 

There is no such thing as 
freedom, but everything in 
the world happens solely ac- 
cording to the laws of nature. 


Granted, that there does 
exist freedom in the transcen- 
dental sense, as a peculiar 
kind of causality, operating 
to produce events in the 
world — a faculty, that is to 
say, of originating a state, 
and consequently a series of 
consequences from that state. 
In this case, not only the se- 
ries originated by this spon- 
taneity, but the determination 
of this spontaneity itself to 
the production of the series, 
that is to say, the causality 
itself, must have an absolute 
commencement, such, that 




time, but would likewise have 
always existed. The causal- 
ity, therefore, of a cause, 
whereby something happens, 
is itself a thing that has hap- 
pened. Now this again pre- 
supposes, in conformity with 
the law of nature, a previ- 
ous condition and its causal- 
ity and this another anterior 
to the former, and so on. 
If, then, everything happens 
solely in accordance with the 
laws of nature, there cannot 
be any real first beginning 
of things, but only a sub- 
altern or comparative begin- 
ning. There cannot, there- 
fore, be a completeness of 
series on the side of the 
causes which originate the 
one from the other. But 
the law of nature is, that 
nothing can happen without 
a sufficient a priori deter- 
mined cause: The proposi- 
tion, therefore — if all causal- 
ity is possible only in accord- 
ance with the laws of nature 
— is, when stated in this un- 
limited and general manner, 
self-contradictory. It follows 
that this cannot be the only 
kind of causality. 

From what has been said, 
it follows that a causality 
must be admitted, by means 
of which something happens, 
without its cause being deter- 
mined according to necessary 
laws by some other cause 
preceding. That is to say, 
there must exist an absolute 


nothing can precede to de- 
termine this action according 
to unvarying laws. But every 
beginning of action presup- 
poses in the acting cause a 
state of inaction; and a dy- 
namically primal beginning 
of action presupposes a state, 
which has no connection — as 
regards causality — with the 
preceding state of the cause 
— which does not, that is, in 
any wise result from it. Tran- 
scendental freedom is there- 
fore opposed to the natural 
law of cause and effect, and 
such a conjunction of succes- 
sive states in efEective causes 
is destructive of the possibil- 
ity of unity in experience, 
and for that reason not to 
be found in experience — ia 
consequently a mere fiction 
of thought. 

We have, therefore, noth- 
ing but nature, to which we 
must look for connection and 
order in cosmical events. 
Freedom — independence of 
the laws of nature — is cer- 
tainly a deliverance from re- 
straint, but it is also a relin- 
quishing of the guidance of 
law and rule. For it cannot 
be alleged, that, instead of 
the laws of nature, laws of 
freedom may be introduced 
into the causality of the 
course of nature. For, if 
freedom were determined ac- 
cording to laws, it would be 
no longer freedom, but mere- 
ly nature. Nature, therefore, 



spontaneity of cause, wtich of 
itself originates a series of 
phenomena wMch. proceeds 
according to natural laws — 
consequently transcendental 
freedom, without whicli even 
in the course of nature the 
succession of phenomena on 
the side of causes is never 


and transcendental freedom 
are distinguishable as con- 
formitj to law and lawless- 
ness. The former imposes 
upon understanding the dif- 
ficulty of seeking the origin 
of events ever higher and 
higher in the series of causes, 
inasmuch as causality is al- 
ways conditioned therehy; 
while it compensates this 
labor by the guarantee of a 
unity complete and in con- 
formity with law. The lat- 
ter, on the contrary, holds 
out to the understanding the 
promise of a point of rest in 
the chain of causes, by con- 
ducting it to an uncondi- 
tioned causality, which pro- 
fesses to have the power of 
spontaneous origination, but 
which, in its own utter blind- 
ness, deprives it of the guid- 
ance of rules, by which alone 
a completely connected expe- 
rience is possible. 

Obsbevations on the Third Antinomy 


On the Antithesis 

The assertor of the all- suf- 
ficiency of nature in regard 
to causality (transcendental 
Physiocracy), in opposition 
to the doctrine of freedom, 
would defend his view of 
the question somewhat in the 
following manner. He would 
say, in answer to the sophisti- 
cal arguments of the opposite 
party: If you do not accept a 

On the Thesis 

The transcendental idea of 
freedom is far from consti- 
tuting the entire content of 
the psychological conception 
so termed, which is for the 
most part empirical. It mere- 
ly presents us with the con- 
ception of spontaneity of ac- 
tion, as the proper ground 
for imputing freedom to the 
cause of a certain class of ob- 




jects. It is, however, the 
true stumbling-stone to phi- 
losophy, which meets with 
unconquerable difficulties in 
the way of its admitting this 
kind of unconditioned cau- 
sality. That element in the 
question of the freedom of 
the will, which has for so 
long a time placed specula- 
tive reason in such perplexity, 
is properly only transcenden- 
tal, and concerns the ques- 
tion, whether there must be 
held to exist a ^ faculty of 
spontaneous origination of a 
series of successive things or 
states. How such a faculty 
is possible, is not a necessary 
inquiry; for in the case of 
natural causality itself, we are 
obliged to content ourselves 
with the a priori knowledge 
that such a causality must be 
presupposed, although we are 
quite incapable of compre- 
hending how the being of one 
thing is possible through the 
being of another, but must 
for this information look en- 
tirely to experience. Now 
we have demonstrated this 
necessity of a free first begin- 
ning of a series of phenom- 
ena, only in so far as it is 
required for the comprehen- 
sion of an origin of the world, 
all following states being re- 
garded as a succession accord- 
ing to laws of nature alone. 
But, as there has thus been 
proved the existence of a 
faculty which can of itself 


mathematical first, in relation 
to time, you have no need to 
seek a dynamical first, in re 
gard to causality. Who com- 
pelled you to imagine an ab- 
solutely primal condition of 
the world, and therewith an 
absolute beginning of the 
gradually progressing suc- 
cessions of phenomena — and, 
as some foundation for this 
fancy of yours, to set bounds 
to unlimited nature? Inas- 
much as the substances in 
the world have always ex- 
isted — at least the unity ot 
experience renders such a 
supposition quite recessary 
— there is no difficulty in be- 
lieving also, that the changes 
in the conditions of these sub- 
stances have always existed; 
and, consequently, that a first 
beginning, mathematical or 
dynamical, is by no means 
required. The possibility of 
such an infinite derivation, 
without any initial member 
from which all the others re- 
sult, is certainly quite incom- 
prehensible. But if you are 
rash enough to deny the enig- 
matical secrets of nature for 
this reason, you will find your- 
selves obliged to deny also 
the existence of many funda- 
mental properties of natural 
objects (sucn as fundamental 
forces), which you can just as 
little comprehend; and even 
the possibility of so simple a 
conception as that of change 
must present to you insuper- 




originate a series in time — 
although we are unable to 
explain how it can exist — we 
feel ourselves authorized to 
admit, even in the midst of 
the natural course of events, 
a beginning, as regards cau- 
sality, of different successions 
of phenomena, and at the 
same time to attribute to all 
substances a faculty of free 
action. But we ought in this 
case not to allow ourselves to 
fall into a common misunder- 
standing, and to suppose that, 
because a successive series in 
the world can only have a 
comparatively first beginning 
— another state or condition 
of things always preceding — ■ 
an absolutely first beginning 
of a series in the course of 
nature is impossible. For we 
are not speaking here of an 
absolutely first beginning in 
relation to time, but as re- 
gards causality alone. When, 
for example, I, completely of 
my own free will, and inde- 

Sendently of the necessarily 
eterminative influence of 
natural causes, rise from m; 
chair, there commences wit' 
this event, including its ma- 
terial consequences in infini- 
tum, an absolutely new series; 
although, in relation to time, 
this event is merely the 
continuation of a -preceding 
series. For this resolution 
and act of mine do not form 
part of the succession of 
effects in nature, and are not 


able difficulties. For if expe- 
rience did not teach you that 
it was real, you never could 
conceive a priori the possi- 
bility of this ceaseless se- 
quence of being and non- 

But if the existence of a 
transcendental faculty of free- 
dom is granted — a faculty of 
originating changes in the 
world — this faculty must at 
least exist out of and apart 
from the world; although it 
is certainly a bold assump- 
tion, that, over and above 
the complete content of all 
possible intuitions, there still 
exists an object which cannot 
be presented in any possible 
perception. But, to attribute 
to substances in the world it- 
self such a faculty, is quite 
inadmissible ; for, in this case, 
the connection of phenomena 
reciprocally determining and 
determined according to gen- 
eral laws, which is termed 
nature, and along with it the 
criteria of empirical truth, 
which enable us to distin- 
guish experience from mere 
visionary dreaming, would al- 
most entirely disappear. In 
proximity with such a lawless 
faculty of freedom, a system 
of nature is hardly cogitable; 
for the laws of the latter 
would be continually subject 
to the intrusive influences of 
the former, and the course 
of phenomena, which would 
otherwise proceed regularly 



Thesis Antithesis 

mere continuations of it; on and uniformly, would become 
the contrary, the determining thereby confused and discoU' 
causes of nature cease to oper- nected. 
ate in reference to this event, 
which certainly succeeds the 
acts of nature, but does not 
proceed from them. For these 
reasons, the action of a free 
agent must be termed, in re- 
gard to causality, if not in 
relation to time, an absolutely 
primal beginning of a series 
of phenomena. 

The justification of this 
need of reason to rest upon 
a free act as the first begin- 
ning of the series of natural 
causes, is evident from the 
fact, that all philosophers of 
antiquity ^with the exception 
of the Epicurean school) felt 
themselves obliged, when con- 
structing a theory of the 
motions of the universe, to 
accept a prime mover, that is, 
a freely acting cause, which 
spontaneously and- prior to 
all other causes evolved this 
series of states. They always 
felt the need of going beyond 
mere nature, for the purpose 
of making a first beginning 



Thesis ' Antithesis 

There exists either in, or An absolutely necessary 
in connection with the world being does not exist, either 
—either as a part of it, or as in the world, or out of it — 
the cause of it — an absolutely as its cause, 
necessary being. 



The world of sense, as the 
sum-total of all phenomena, 
contains a series of changes. 
For, without such a series, 
the mental representation of 
the series of time itself, as the 
condition of the possibility of 
the sensuous world, could not 
be presented to us.' But 
every change stands under its 
condition, which precedes it 
in time and renders it neces- 
sary. Now the existence of 
a given condition presupposes 
a complete series of conditions 
up to the absolutely uncon- 
ditioned, which alone is abso- 
lutely necessary. It follows 
that something that is abso- 
lutely necessary must exist, 
if change exists as its conse- 
quence. But this necessary 
thing itself belongs to the 
sensuous world. For suppose 
it to exist out of and apart 
from it, the series of cosmical 
changes would receive from 
it a beginning, and yet this 
necessary cause would not it- 
self belong to the world of 
sense. But this is impossi- 
ble. For, as the beginning of 
a series in time is determined 
only by that which precedes 
it in time, the supreme con- 
dition of the beginning of a 

■ Objectively, time, aa the formal con- 
dition of the possibility of change, pre- 
cedes all changes ; but subjectively, and 
in consciousness, the representation of 
time, like every other, is given solely 
by occasion of perception. 


Grant that either the world 
itself is necessary, or that 
there is contained in it a 
necessary existence. Two 
cases are possible. First, 
there must either be in the 
series of cosmical changes a 
beginning, which is uncondi- 
tionally necessary, and there- 
fore uncaused — •which is at 
variance with the dynamical 
law of the determination of 
all phenomena in time; or, 
secondly, the series itself is 
without beginning, and, al- 
though contingent and con- 
ditioned in all its parts, is 
nevertheless absolutely neces- 
sary and unconditioned as a 
whole — which is self-contra- 
dictory. For the existence 
of an aggregate cannot be 
necessary, if no single part 
of it possesses necessary 

Grant, on the other hand, 
that an absolutely necessary 
cause exists out of and apart 
from the world. This cause, 
as the highest member in the 
series of the causes of cos- 
mical changes, must originate 
or begin' the existence of the 

' The word begin is taken in two 
senses. The first is active — the cause 
being regarded as beginning a series of 
conditions as its effect (infit).* The 
second is passive — the causality in the 
cause itself beginning to operate (fit). I 
reason here from the first to the second. 

* It may be doubted whether there 
is any passage to be found in the Latin 
Classics where infit is employed in any 




series of changes must exist 
in the time in which this se- 
ries itself did not eirist; for 
a beginning supposes a time 
preceding, in which the thing 
that begins to be was not 
in existence. The causality 
of the necessary cause of 
changes, and consequently 
the cause itself, must for 
these reasons belong to time 
— and to phenomena, time be- 
ing possible only as the form 
of phenomena. Consequent- 
ly, it cannot be cogitated as 
separated from the world of 
sense — the sum-total of all 
phenomena. There is, there- 
lore, contained in the world 
something that is absolutely 
necessary — whether it be the 
whole oosmical series itself, 
or only a part of it. 

Observations on the Foueth Antinomt 


latter and their series. In 
this case it must also begin 
to act, and its causality would 
therefore belong to time, and 
consequently to the sum- total 
of phenomena, that is, to the 
world. It follows that the 
cause cannot be out of the 
world; which is contradictory 
to the hypothesis. Therefore, 
neither in the world, nor out 
of it (but in causal con- 
nection with it), does there 
exist any absolutely neces- 
sary being. 

On the Thesis 

To demonstrate the exist- 
ence of a necessary being, I 
cannot be permitted in this 
place to employ any other 
than the cosmological argu- 
ment, which ascends from the 
conditioned in phenomena to 
the unconditioned in concep- 
tion — the unconditioned be- 
ing considered the necessary 
condition of the absolute 
totality of the series. The 
proof, from the mere idea of 
a supreme being, belongs to 
another principle of reason, 


On the Antithesis 

The difficulties which meet 
us, in our attempt to rise 
through the series of phe- 
nomena to the existence of 
an absolutely necessary su- 
preme cause, must not origi- 
nate from our inability to 
establish the truth of our 
mere conceptions of the nec- 
essary existence of a thing. 

other than a neuter sense, as ia Plau- 
tus, "Inflt me percontarier." The 
second signffieation of begin (anfangen) 
we should rather term neuter. — Tr. 




and requires separate discus- 

The pure cosmological 
proof demonstrates the exist- 
ence of a necessary being, 
but at the same time leaves it 
quite unsettled, whether this 
being is the world itself, or 
quite distinct from it. To 
establish the truth of the latter 
view, principles are requisite, 
which are not cosmological, 
and do not proceed in the 
series of phenomena. We 
should require to introduce 
into our proof conceptions of 
contingent beings — regarded 
merely as objects of the 
understanding, and also a 
principle which enables us 
to connect these, by means 
of mere conceptions, with a 
necessary being. But the 
proper place for all such 
arguments is a transcendent 
philosophy, which has un- 
happily not yet been estab- 

But, if we begin our proof 
cosmologically, by laying at 
the foundation of it the series 
of phenomena, and the regress 
in it according to empirical 
laws of causality, we are not 
at liberty to break off from 
this mode of demonstration 
and to pass over to something 
which is not itself a member 
of the series. The condition 
must be taken in exactly the 
same signification as the rela- 
tion of the conditioned to its 
condition in the series has 


That is to say, our objections 
must not be ontological, but 
must be directed against the 
causal connection with a series 
of phenomena of a condition 
which is itself unconditioned. 
In one word, they must be 
cosmological, and relate to 
empirical laws. We must 
show that the regress in the 
series of causes (in the world 
of sense) cannot conclude 
with an empirically uncon- 
ditioned condition, and that 
the cosmological argument 
from the contingency of the 
cosmical state — a contingency 
alleged to arise from change — 
does not justify us in accept- 
ing a first cause, that is, a 
prime originator of the cos- 
mical series. 

The reader will observe in 
this antinomy a very remark- 
able contrast. The very same 
grounds of proof which estab- 
lished in the thesis the exist- 
ence of a supreme being, 
demonstrated in the antith- 
esis — and with equal strict- 
ness — the non-existence of 
such a being. We found, 
first, that a necessary being 
exists, because the whole time 
past contains the series of all 
conditions, and with it, there- 
fore, the unconditioned (the 
necessary); secondly, that 
there does not exist any neces- 
sary being, for the same rea- 
son, that the whole time past 
contains the series of all con- 
ditions — which are themselves 




been taken, for tlie series 
must conduct us in an un- 
broken regress to this su- 
preme condition. But if this 
relation is sensuous, and be- 
longs to the possible empiri- 
cal employment of the under- 
standing, the supreme condi- 
tion or caiise must close the 
regressive series according to 
the laws of sensibility, and 
consequently must belong to 
the series of time. It follows 
that this necessary existence 
must be regarded as the 
highest member of the cos- 
mical series. 

Certain philosophers have, 
nevertheless, allowed them- 
selves the liberty of making 

such a SaliUS (fiera^aScj eij 

aXXo ^ei/oj). From the changes 
in the world they have con- 
cluded their empirical contin- 
gency, that is, their depen- 
dence on empirically-deter- 
mined causes, and they thus 
admitted an ascending series 
of empirical conditions: and 
in this they are quite right. 
But as they could not find in 
this series any primal begin- 
ning or any highest member, 
they passed suddenly from 
the empirical conception of 
contingency to the pure cate- 
gory, which presents us with 
a series — not sensuous, but 
intellectual — whose complete- 
ness does certainly rest upon 
the existence of an absolutely 
necessary cause. Nay, more, 
this intellectual series is not 


therefore, in the aggregate, 
conditioned. The cause or 
this seeming incongruity is 
as follows. We attend, in 
the first argument, solely to 
the absolute totality of the 
series of conditions, the one 
of which determines the other 
in time, and thus arrive at a 
necessary unconditioned. In 
the second, we consider, on 
the contraiy, the contingency 
of everythmg that is deter- 
mined an the series of time — 
for every event is preceded 
by a time, in which the con- 
dition itself must be deter- 
mined as conditioned — ^and 
thus everything that is un- 
conditioned or absolutely nec- 
essary disappears. In both, 
the mode of proof is quite in 
accordance with the common 
procedure of human reason, 
which often falls into discord 
with itself, from considering 
an object from two different 

Soints of Ariew. Herr von 
[airan regarded the contro- 
versy between two celebrated 
astronomers, which arose from 
a similar difficulty as to the 
choice of a proper standpoint, 
as a phenomenon of sufficient 
importance to warrant a sepa- 
rate treatise on the subject. 
The one concluded: the moon 
revolves on its own axis, be- 
cause it constantly presents 
the same side to the earth; 
the other declared that the 
moon does not revolve on its 
own axis, for the same reason. 




tied to any sensuous condi- 
tions; and is therefore free 
from the condition of time, 
which requires it spontane- 
ously to begin its causality 
in time. — But such a pro- 
cedure is perfectly inadmis- 
sible, as will be made plain 
from what follows. 

In the pure sense of the 
categories, that is contingent, 
the contradictory opposite of 
which is possible. Now we 
cannot reason from empirical 
contingency to intellectual. 
The opposite of that which 
is changed — the opposite of 
its state — is actual at another 
time, and is therefore possi- 
ble. Consequently, it is not 
the contradictory opposite of 
the former state. To be that, 
it is necessary that in the 
same time in which the pre- 
ceding state existed, its op- 
posite could have existed in 
its place; but such a cogni- 
tion is not given us in the 
mere phenomenon of change. 
A body that was in motion = 
A, comes into a state of rest 
z=non-A. Now it cannot be 
concluded from the fact that 
a state opposite to the state 
A follows it, that the contra- 
dictory opposite of A is pos- 
sible ; and that A is therefore 
contingent. To prove this, 
we should require to know 
that the state of rest could 
have existed in the very same 
time in which the motion 
took place. Now we know 


Both conclusions were per- 
fectly correct, according to 
the point of view from which 
the motions of the moon were 



Thesis Antithesis 

nothing more tlaan that the 
state of rest was actual in the 
time that followed the state 
of motion; consequently, that 
it was also possible. But 
motion at one time, and rest 
at another time, are not con- 
tradictorily opposed to each 
other. It follows from what 
has been said, that the suc- 
cession of opposite determi- 
nations, that is, change, does 
not demonstrate the fact of 
contingency as represented in 
the conceptions of the pure 
understanding; and that it 
cannot, therefore, conduct us 
to the fact of tlie existence 
of a necessary being. Change 
proves merely empirical con- 
tingency, that is to say, that 
the new state could not 
have existed without a cause, 
which belongs to the pre- 
ceding time. This cause^ 
even although it is regarded 
as absolutely necessary — must 
be presented to us m time, 
and must belong to the series 
of phenomena. I 

Section Third 
Of the Interest of Reason in these Self-contradictions 
We have thus completely before us the dialectical pro- 
cedure of the cosmological ideas. No possible experience 
can present us with an object adequate to them in extent. 
Nay, more, reason itself cannot cogitate them as according 
with the general laws of experience. And yet they are not 
arbitrary fictions of thought. On the contrary, reason, in its 


nninterrupted progress in tlie empirical synthesis, is neces- 
sarily conducted to them, when it endeavors to free from all 
conditions and to comprehend in its nnconditioned totality, 
that which can only be determined conditionally in accord- 
ance with the laws of experience. These dialectical propo- 
sitions are so many attempts to solve four natural and un- 
avoidable problems of reason. — There are neither more, nor 
can there be less, than this number, because there are no 
other series of synthetical hypotheses, limiting a priori the 
empirical synthesis. 

The brilliant claims of reason striving to extend its 
dominion beyond the limits of experience, have been rep- 
resented above only in dry formulae, which contain merely 
the grounds of its pretensions. They have, besides, in con- 
formity with the character of a transcendental philosophy, 
been freed from every empirical element; although the full 
splendor of the promises they hold out, and the anticipations 
they excite, manifests itself only when in connection with 
empirical cognitions. In the application of them, however, 
and in the advancing enlargement of the employment of rea- 
son, while struggling to rise from the region of experience 
and to soar to those sublime ideas, philosophy discovers a 
value and a dignity, which, if it could but make good its 
assertions, would raise it far above all other departments of 
human knowledge — professing, as it does, to present a sure 
foundation for our highest hopes and the ultimate aims 
of all the exertions of reason. The questions: whether the 
world has a beginning and a limit to its extension in space ; 
whether there exists anywhere, or perhaps, in my own think- 
ing Self an indivisible and indestructible unity — or whether 
nothing but what is divisible and transitory exists; whether 
1 am a free agent, or, like other beings, am bound in the 
chains of nature and fate; whether, finally, there is a su- 
preme cause of the world, or all our thought and specula- 
tion must end with nature and the order of external things 
— are questions, ior the solution of which the mathematician 
wouM willingly exchange his whole science; for in it there 

XI — Science — 1 6 


is DO satisfaction for the highest aspirations and most ardent 
desires of humanity. Nay, it may even be said that the true 
value of mathematics — that pride of human reason — consists 
in this: that she guides reason to the knowledge of nature — 
in her greater, as well as in her less manifestations — in her 
beautiful order and regularity — guides her, moreover, to an 
insight into the wonderful unity of the moving forces in the 
operations of nature, far beyond the expectations of a phi- 
losophy building only on experience; and that she thus 
encourages philosophy to extend the province of reason 
beyond all experience, and at the same time provides it 
with the most excellent materials for supporting its investi- 
gations, in so far as their nature admits, by adequate and 
accordant intuitions. 

Unfortunately for speculation — but perhaps fortunately 
for the practical interests of humanity — reason, in the midst 
of her highest anticipations, finds herself hemmed in by a 
press of opposite and contradictory conclusions, from which 
neither her honor nor her safety will permit her to draw 
back. Nor can she regard these conflicting trains of reason- 
ing with indifference as mere passages at arms, still less can 
she command peace; for in the subject of the conflict she 
has a deep interest. There is no other course left open to 
her, than to reflect with herself upon the origin of this dis- 
union in reason — whether it may not arise from a mere mis- 
understanding. After such an inquiry, arrogant claims 
would have to be given up on both sides; but the sover- 
eignty of reason over understanding and sense would be 
based upon a sure foundation. 

We shall at present defer this radical inquiry, and in the 
meantime consider for a little — what side in the controversy 
we should most willingly take, if we were obliged to become 
partisans at all. As, in this case, we- leave out of sight alto- 
gether the logical criterion of truth, and merely consult our 
own interest in reference to the question, these considera- 
tions, although inadequate to settle the question of right in 
either party, will enable us to comprehend, how those wh© 


have taken part in the struggle adopt the one view rather 
than the other — no special insight into the subject, however, 
having influenced their choice. They will, at the same time, 
explain to us many other things by the way — for example, 
the ' fiery zeal on the one side and the cold maintenance of 
their cause on the other; why the one party has met with 
the warmest approbations, and the other has always been 
repulsed by irreconcilable prejudices. 

There is one thing, however, that determines the proper 
point of view, from which alone this preliminary inquiry can 
be instituted and carried on with the proper completeness — 
and that is the comparison of the principles, from which 
both sides, thesis and antithesis, proceed. My readers 
would remark in the propositions of the antithesis a com- 
plete uniformity in the mode of thought and a perfect unity 
of principle. Its principle was that of pure empiricism, not 
only in the explication of the phenomena in the world, but 
also in the solution of the transcendental ideas, even of that 
of the universe itself. The affirmations of the thesis, on the 
contrary, were based, in addition to the empirical mode of 
explanation employed in the series of phenomena, on intel- 
lectual propositions; and its principles were in so far not 
simple. I shall term the thesis, in view of its essential 
characteristic, the dogmatism of pure reason. 

On the side of dogmatism, or of the thesis, therefore, 
in the determination of the cosmological ideas, we find: 

1. A practical interest, which must be very dear to every 
right-thinking man. That the world has a beginning — that 
the nature of my thinking self is simple, and therefore in- 
destructible — ^that I am a free agent, and raised above the 
compulsion of mature and her laws — and, finally, that the 
entire order of things, which form the world, is dependent 
upon a Supreme Being, from whom the whole receives unity 
and connection — these are so many foundation-stones of mo- 
rality and religion. The antithesis deprives us of all these 
supports — or, at least, seems so to deprive us. 

2. A speculative interest of reason manifests itself on this 


Bide. For, if we take the transcendental ideas and employ 
them in the manner which the thesis directs, we can exhibit 
completely a priori the entire chain of conditions, and un- 
derstand the derivation of the conditioned — beginning from 
the unconditioned. This the antithesis does not do; and for 
this reason does not meet with so welcome a reception. For 
it can give no answer to our questions respecting the condi- 
tions of its synthesis — except such as must be supplemented 
by another question, and so on to infinity. According to 
it, we must rise from a given beginning to one still higher; 
every part conducts us to a still smaller one; every event is 
preceded by another event which is its cause ; and the con- 
ditions of existence rest always upon other and still higher 
conditions, and find neither end nor basis in some self- 
subsistent thing as the primal being. 

3. This side has also the advantage of popularity ; and 
this constitutes no small part of its claim to favor. The 
common understanding does not find the least difficulty in 
the idea of the unconditioned beginning of all synthesis — 
accustomed, as it is, rather to follow out consequences, than 
to seek for a proper basis for cognition. In the conception 
of an absolute first, moreover — the possibility of which it 
does not inquire into — it is highly gratified to find a firmly- 
established point of departure for its attempts at theory; 
while in the restless and continuous ascent from the con- 
ditioned to the condition, always with one foot in the air, 
it can find no satisfaction. 

On the side of the Antithesis, or Empiricism, in the 
determination of the cosmological ideas: 

1. We cannot discover any such practical interest arising 
from pure principles of reason, as morality and religion 
present. On the contrary, pure empiricism seems to empty 
them of all their power and influence. If there does not 
exist a Supreme Being distinct from the world — if the world 
is without beginning, consequently without a Creator — if 
our wills are not free, and the soul is divisible and subject 
to corruption just like matter — the ideas and principles of 


moraMty lose all validity, and fall -witli tlie transcendental 
ideas whioli constituted their tkeoretical support. 

2. But empiricism, in compensation, holds out to reason, 
in its speculative interests, certain important advantages, far 
exceeding any tliat tlie dogmatist can promise us. Eor, when 
employed by the empiricist, understanding is always upon its 
proper ground of investigation — the field of possible experi- 
ence, the laws of which it can explore, and thus extend its 
cognition securely and with clear intelligence without being 
stopped by limits in any direction. Here can it and ought 
it to find and present to intuition its proper object — not only 
in itself, but in all its relations; or, if it employe conceptions, 
upon this ground it can always present the corresponding 
images in clear and unmistakable intuitions. It is quite un- 
necessary for it to renounce the guidance of nature, to attach 
itself to ideas, tbe objects of which, it cannot know; because, 
as mere intellectual entities, they cannot be presented in any 
intuition. On the contrary, it is not even permitted to aban- 
don its proper occupation, under the pretence that it has 
been brought to a conclusion (for it never can be), and to 
pass into the region of idealising reason and transcendent 
conceptions, where it is not required to observe and explore 
the laws of nature, but merely to thinh and to imagine — 
secure from being contradicted by facts, because they have 
not been caJled as witnesses, but passed by, or perhaps sub- 
ordinated to the so-called higher interests and considerations 
of pure reason. 

Hence the empiricist will never allow himself to accept 
any epoch of nature for the first — the absolutely primal 
state; he will not believe that there can be limits to his 
outlook into her wide domains, nor pass from the objects 
of nature, which he can satisfactorily explain by means of 
observation and mathematical thought — ^which he can deter- 
mine synthetically in intuition, to those which neither sense 
nor imagination can ever present in concreto ; he will not 
concede the existence of a faculty in nature operating in- 
dependently of the laws of nature — a concession which 


would introduce uncertainty into the procedure of the under- 
standing, which is guided by necessary laws to the observation 
of phenomena ; nor, finally, will he permit himself to seek a 
cause beyond nature, inasmuch as we know nothing but it, 
and from it alone receive an objective basis for all our con- 
ceptions and instruction in the unvarying laws of things. 

In truth, if the empirical philosopher had no other pur- 
pose in the establishment of his antithesis, than to check the 
presumption of a reason which mistakes its true destination, 
which boasts of its insight and its knowledge, just where all 
insight and knowledge cease to exist, and regards that which 
is valid only in relation to a practical interest, as an advance- 
ment of the speculative interests of the mind (in order, when 
it is convenient for itself, to break the thread of our physical 
investigations, and, under pretence of extending our cogni- 
tion, connect them with transcendental ideas, by means of 
which we really know only that we know nothing) — if, I say, 
the empiricist rested satisfied with this benefit, the principle 
advanced by him would be a maxim recommending modera- 
tion in the pretensions of reason and modesty in its affirma- 
tions, and at the same time would direct us to the right mode 
of extending the province of the understanding, by the help 
of the only true teacher, experience. In obedience to this 
advice, intellectual hypotheses and faith would not be called 
in aid of our practical interests; nor should we introduce 
them under the pompous titles of science and insight. For 
speculative cognition cannot find an objective basis any other 
where than in experience; and, when we overstep its limits, 
our synthesis, which requires ever new cognitions indepen- 
dent of experience, has no substratum of intuition upon 
which to build. 

But if — as often happens — empiricism, in relation to ideas, 
becomes itself dogmatic, and boldly denies that which is 
above the sphere of its phenomenal cognition, it falls itself 
into the error of intemperance — an error which is here all 
the more reprehensible, as thereby the practical interest 
of reason receives an irreparable injury. 


And this constitutes the opposition between Epicurean- 
ism' and Platonism. 

Both Epicurus and Plato assert more in their systems 
than they know. The former encourages and advances 
science — although to the prejudice of the practical; the 
latter presents us with excellent principles for the investiga- 
tion of the practical, but, in relation to everything regarding 
which we can attain to speculative cognition, permits reason 
to append idealistic explanations of natural phenomena, to 
the great injury of physical investigation. 

3. In regard to the third motive for the preliminary 
choice of a party in this war of assertions, it seems very 
extraordinary that empiricism should be utterly unpopular. 
We should be inclined to believe, that the common under- 
standing would receive it with pleasure — promising, as it 
does, to satisfy it without passing the bounds of experience 
and its connected order; while transcendental dogmatism 
obliges it to rise to conceptions, which far surpass the in- 
telligence and ability of the most practiced thinkers. But 
in this, in truth, is to be found its real motive. For the 
common understanding thus finds itself in a situation, where 
not even the most learned can have the advantage of it. If 
it understands little or nothing about these transcendental 
conceptions, no one can boast of understanding any more; 
and although it may not express itself in so scholastically 

' It is, however, still a matter of doubt whether Epicurus ever propounded 
these principles as directions for the objective employment of the understanding. 
If, indeed, they were nothing more than maxims for the speculative exercise of 
reason, he gives evidence therein of a more genuine philosophic spirit than any 
of the philosophers of antiquity. That, in the explanation of phenomena, we 
must proceed as if the field of inquiry had neither limits in space nor commence- 
ment in lime ; that we must be satisfied with the teaching of experience in ref- 
erence to the material of which the world is composed ; that we must not look 
for any other mode of the origination of events than that which is determined 
by the unalterable laws of nature; and finally, that we must not employ the 
hypothesis of a cause distinct from the world to account for a phenomenon or 
for the world itself — are principles for the extension of speculative philosophy, 
and the discovery of the true sources of the principles of morals, which, how- 
ever little conformed to in the present day, are undoubtedly correct. At the 
same time, any one desirous of ignoring, in mere speculation, these dogmatical 
propositions, need not for that reason be accused of denying them. 


correct a manner as others, it can busy iteelf -witli reasoning 
and arguments without end, wandering among mere ideas, 
about which one can always be very eloquent, because we 
know nothing about them; while, in the observation and 
investigation of nature, it would be forced to remain dumb 
and to confess its utter ignorance. Thus indolence and 
vanity form of themselves strong recommendations of these 
principles. Besides, although it is a hard thing for a phi- 
losopher to assume a principle, of which he can give to 
himself no reasonable account, and still more to employ 
conceptions, the objective reality of which cannot be estab- 
lished, nothing is more usual with the common understand- 
ing. It wants something, which will allow it to go to work 
with confidence. The difficulty of even comprehending a 
supposition, does not disquiet it, because — not knowing 
what comprehending means — it never even thinks of the 
supposition it may be adopting as a principle; and regards 
as known, that with which it has become familiar from con- 
stant use. And, at last, all speculative interests disappear 
before the practical interests which it holds dear; and it 
fancies that it understands and knows yAaX its necessities 
and hopes incite it to assume or t^^^gt-e. Thus the em- 
piricism of transcendentallyldedl^^^Bfcon is robbed of all 
popularity ; and, however prejudici^ffrmay be to the high* 
est practical principles, there is no fear that it will ever pass 
the limits of the schools, or acquire any favor or influence 
in society or with the multitude. 

Human reason is by nature architectonic. That is to 
say, it regards all cognitions as parts of a possible system, 
and hence accepts only such principles as at least do not 
incapacitate a cognition to which we may have attained from 
being placed along with others in a general system. But 
the propositions of the antithesis are of a character which 
renders the completion of an edifice of cognitions impossi- 
ble. According to these, beyond one state or epoch of the 
world there is always to be found one more ancient; in 
every part always other parts themselves divisible; preced- 


ing every event another, the origin of which must itself 
be sought still higher; and everything in existence is con- 
ditioned, and still not dependent on an unconditioned and 
primal existence. As, therefore, the antithesis will not 
concede the existence of a first beginning which might be 
available as a foundation, a complete edifice of cognition, 
in the presence of such hypotheses, is utterly impossible. 
Thus the architectonic interest of reason, which requires a 
unity — not empirical, but a priori and rational, forms 
a natural recommendation for the assertions of the thesis 
in our antinomy. 

But if any one could free himself entirely from all con- 
siderations of interest, and weigh without partiality the 
assertions of reason, attending only to their content, irre- 
spective of the consequences which follow from them; such 
a person, on the supposition that he knew no other way out 
of the confusion than to settle the truth of one or other of 
the conflicting doctrines, would live in a state of continual 
hesitation. To-day, he would feel convinced that the humaa 
will is free; to-morrow, considering the indissoluble chain 
of nature, he would look on freedom as a mere illusion, and 
declare nature to be all-in-all. But, if he were called to 
action, the play of the merely speculative reason would dis- 
appear like the shapes of a dream, and practical interest 
would dictate his choice of principles. But, as it well befits 
a reflective and inquiring being to devote certain periods of 
time to the examination of its own reason — to divest itself 
of all partiality, and frankly to communicate its observations 
for the judgment and opinion of others; so no one can be 
blamed for, much less prevented from, plaping both parties 
on their trial, with permission to defend themselves, free 
from intimidation, before a sworn jury of equal condition 
with themselves — the condition of weak and fallible men. 



Section Fourth 

Of the necessity imposed upon Pure Reason of presenting a 
Solution of its Transcendental Problems 

To avow an ability to solve all problems and to answer 
all questions, would be a profession certain to convict any 
philosopher of extravagant boasting and self-conceit, and at 
once to destroy the confidence that might otherwise have 
been reposed in him. There are, however, sciences so con- 
stituted, that every question arising within their sphere, 
must necessarily be capable of receiving an answer from 
the knowledge already possessed, for the answer must be 
received from the same sources whence the question arose. 
In such sciences it is not allowable to excuse ourselves on 
the plea of necessary and unavoidable ignorance; a solution 
is absolutely requisite. The rule of right and wrong must 
help us to the knowledge of what is right or wrong in all 
possible cases; otherwise, the idea of obligation or duty 
would be utterly null, for we cannot have any obligation to 
that which we cannot know. On the other hand, in our in- 
vestigations of the phenomena of nature, much must remain 
uncertain, and many questions continue insoluble; because 
what we kno\7 of nature is far from being sufficient to 
explain all the phenomena that are presented to our obser- 
vation. Now the question is: Wbether there is in tran- 
scendental philosophy any question, relating to an object 
presented to pure reason, which is unanswerable by this 
reason; and whether we must regard the subject of the ques- 
tion as quite uncertain — 'So far as our knowledge extends, 
and must give it a place among those subjects, of which we 
have just so much conception as is sufiicient to enable us to 
raise a question — faculty or materials failing us, however, 
when we attempt an answer. 

Now I maintain that among all speculative cognition, 


the peculiarity of transcendental philosophy is, that there is 
no question, relating to an object presented to pure reason, 
which is insoluble by this reason; and that the profession 
of unavoidable ignorance — the problem being alleged to be 
beyond the reach of our faculties — cannot free us from the 
obligation to present a complete and satisfactory answer. 
For the very conception, which enables us to raise the ques- 
tion, must give us the power of answering it; inasmuch as 
the object, as in the case of right and wrong, is not to be 
discovered out of the conception. 

But, in transcendental philosophy, it is only the cosmo- 
logical questions, to which we can demand a satisfactory 
answer in relation to the constitution of their object; and the 
philosopher is not permitted to avail himself of the pretext 
of necessary ignorance and impenetrable obscurity. These 
questions relate solely to the cosmological ideas. For the 
object must be given in experience, and the question relates 
to the adequateness of the object to an idea. If the object 
is transcendental, and therefore itself unknown ; if the ques- 
tion, for example, is whether the object — the something, the 
phenomenon of which (internal) in ourselves is thought — 
that is to say, the soul, is in itself a simple being ; or whether 
there is a cause of all things, which is absolutely necessary — 
in such cases we are seeking for our idea an object, of which 
we may confess, that it is unknown to us, though we must 
not on that account assert that it is impossible.' The cos- 
mological ideas alone possess the peculiarity, that we can 

' The question, what is the constitution of a transcendental object, is un- 
answerable — we are unable to say what it is; but we can perceive that the 
guestion, itself is nothing; because It does not relate to any object that can be 
presented to us. J"or this reason, we must consider all the questions raised in 
transcendental psychology as answerable, and as really answered; for they 
relate to the transcendental subject of all internal phenomena, which is not itself 
phenomenon, and consequently not given as an object, in which, moreover, 
none of the categories — and it is to them that the question is properly directed 
— ^find any conditions of its application. Here, therefore, is a case where no 
answer ia the only proper answer. For a question regarding the constitution 
of a something, which cannot be cogitated by any determined predicate — ^being 
completely beyond the sphere of objects and experience, is perfectly nuU 
and void. 


presuppose tlie object of them and the empirical synthesis 
requisite for the conception of that object to be given; and 
the question, which arises from these ideas, relates merelj 
to the progress of this synthesis, in so far as it must contain 
absolute totality — ^which, however, is not empirical, as it 
cannot be given in any experience. Now, as the question 
here is solely in regard to a thing as the object of a possible 
experience, and not as a thing in itself, the answer to the 
transcendental cosmological question need not be sought out 
of the idea, for the question does not regard an object in 
itself. The question in relation to a possible experience, is 
not, what can be given in an experience in concreto — but, 
what is contained in the idea, to which the empirical syn- 
thesis must approximate. The question must therefore be 
capable of solution from the idea alone. For the idea is a 
creation of reason itself, which therefore cannot disclaim the 
obligation to answer or refer us to the unknown object. 

It is not so extraordinary as it at first sight appears, that 
a science should demand and expect satisfactory answers 
to all the questions that may arise within its own sphere 
[questiones domesticce), although, up to a certain time, these 
answers may not have been discovered. There are, in addi- 
tion to transcendental philosophy, only two pure sciences of 
reason; the one with a speculative, the other with a practi- 
cal, content — pure mathematics and pure ethics. Has any one 
ever heard it alleged that, from our complete and necessary 
ignorance of the conditions, it is uncertain what exact rela- 
tion the diameter of a circle bears to the circle in rational or 
irrational numbers ? By the former the sum cannot be given 
exactly, by the latter only approximately; and therefore we 
decide, that the impossibility of a solution of the question 
is evident. Lambert presented us with a demonstration of 
this. In the general principles of morals there can be noth- 
ing uncertain, for the propositions are either utterly without 
meaning, or must originate solely in our rational concep- 
tions. On the other hand, there must be in physical science 
an infinite number of conjectures, which can never become 


certainties; because the phenomena of nature are not given 
as objects dependent on our conceptions. The key to the 
solution of such questions cannot therefore be found in our 
conceptions or in pure thought, but must lie without us, and 
for that reason is in many cases not to be discovered; 
and consequently a satisfactory explanation cannot be ex- 
pected. The questions of transcendental analytic, which 
relate to the deduction of our pure cognition, are not to be 
regarded as of the same kind as those mentioned above ; for 
we are not at present treating of the certainty of judgments 
in relation to the origin of our conceptions, but only of that 
certainty in relation to objects. 

We cannot, therefore, escape the responsibility of at 
least a critical solution of the questions of reason, by com- 
plaints of the limited nature of our faculties, and the seem- 
ingly humble confession that it is beyond the power of our 
reason to decide, whether the world has existed from al] 
eternity or had a beginning — whether it is infinitely ex- 
tended, or inclosed within certain linuts^ — whether anything 
in the world is simple, or whether everything must be 
capable of infinite divisibility — whether freedom can origi- 
nate phenomena, or whether everything is absolutely depen- 
dent on the laws and order of nature — and, finally, whether 
there exists a being that is completely unconditioned and 
necessary, or whether the existence of everything is condi- 
tioned and consequently dependent on something external 
to itseM, and therefore in its own nature contingent. For 
all these questions relate to an object, which can be given 
nowhere else than in thought. This object is the abso- 
lutely unconditioned totality of the synthesis of phenomena. 
If the conceptions in our minds do not assist us to some cer- 
tain result in regard to these problems, we must not defend 
ourselves on the plea that the object itself remains hidden 
from and unknown to us. For no such thing or object can 
be given — it is not to be found out of the idea in our minds. 
We must seek the cause of our failure in our idea itself, 
which is an insoluble problem, and in regard to which we 


obstinately assume that there exists a real object corre- 
sponding and adequate to it. A clear explanation of the 
dialectic which lies in our conception, will very soon 
enable us to come to a satisfactory decision in regard to 
such a question. 

The pretext, that we are unable to arrive at certainty in 
regard to these problems, may be met with this question, 
which requires at least a plain answer: From what source 
do the ideas originate, the solution of which involves you in 
such difficulties? Are you seeking for an explanation of 
certain phenomena; and do you expect these ideas to give 
you the principles or the rules of this explanation ? Let it 
be granted, that all nature was laid open before you; that 
nothing was hid from your senses and your consciousness. 
Still, you could not cognize in concreto the object of your 
ideas in any experience. For what is demanded, is, not 
only this full and complete intuition, but also a complete 
synthesis and the consciousness of its absolute totality; and 
this is not possible by means of any empirical cognition. It 
follows that your question — your idea, is by no means neces- 
sary for the explanation of any phenomenon; and the idea 
cannot have been in any sense given by the object itself. 
For such an object can never be presented to us, because 
it cannot be given by any possible experience. Whatever 
perceptions you may attain to, you are still surrounded by 
conditions — in space, or in time, and you cannot discover 
anything unconditioned; nor can you decide whether this 
unconditioned is to be placed in an absolute beginning of 
the synthesis, or in an absolute totality of the series without 
beginning. A whole, in the empirical signification of the 
term, is always merely comparative. The absolute whole 
of quantity (the universe), of division, of derivation, of 
the condition of existence, with the question — whether it 
is to be produced by a finite or infinite synthesis, no possible 
experience can instruct us concerning. You will not, for 
example, be able to explain the phenomena of a body in 
the least degree better, whether you believe it to consist of 


simple, or of composite parts; for a simple phenomenon — 
and just as little an infinite series of composition — can never 
be presented to your perception. Phenomena require and 
admit of explanation, only in so far as the conditions of that 
explanation are given in perception; but the sum-total of 
that which is given in phenomena, considered as an absolute 
whole, is itself a perception — and we cannot therefore seek 
for explanations of this whole beyond itself, in other percep- 
tions. The explanation of this whole is the proper object of 
the transcendental problems of pure reason. 

Although, therefore, the solution of these problems is 
unattainable through experience, we must not permit our- 
selves to say, that it is uncertain how the object of our 
inquiries is constituted. For the object is in our own mind, 
and cannot be discovered in experience; and we have only 
to take care that our thoughts are consistent with each other, 
and to avoid falling into the amphiboly of regarding our 
idea as a representation of an object empirically given, and 
therefore to be cognized according to the laws of experience. 
A dogmatical solution is therefore not only unsatisfactory, 
but impossible. The critical solution, which may be a per- 
fectly certain one, does not consider the question objectively, 
but proceeds by inquiring into the basis of the cognition 
upon which the question rests. 

Section Fifth 

Sceptical Exposition of the Gosmological Problems presented 
in the four Transcendental Ideas 
We should be quite willing to desist from the demand 
of a dogmatical answer to our questions, if we understood 
beforehand that, be the answer what it may, it would only 
serve to increase our ignorance, to throw us from one incom- 
prehensibility into another, from one obscurity into another 
still greater, and perhaps lead us into irreconcilable contra- 
dictions. If a dogmatical affirmative or negative answer is 


demanded, is it at all pradent, to set aside the probable 
grounds of a solution wtich lie before us, and to take into 
consideration, what advantage we shall gain, if the answer 
is to favor the one side or the other ? If it happens that in 
both cases the answer is mere nonsense, we have in this 
an irresistible summons, to institute a critical investigation 
of the question, for the purpose of discovering whether it is 
based on a groundless presupposition, and relates to an idea, 
the falsity of which would be more easily exposed in its 
application and consequences, than in the mere representa- 
tion of its content. This is the great utility of the sceptical 
mode of treating the questions addressed by pure reason to 
itself. By this method we easily rid ourselves of the con- 
fusions of dogmatism, and establish in its place a temperate 
criticism, which, as a genuine cathartic, will successfully 
remove the presumptuous notions of philosophy and their 
consequence — the vain pretension to universal science. 

If, then, I could understand the nature of a cosmological 
idea, and perceive, before I entered on the discussion of the 
subject at all, that, whatever side of the question regarding 
the unconditioned of the regressive synthesis of phenomena 
it favored, it must either be too great or too small for every 
conception of the understanding; — I would be able to compre- 
hend how the idea, which relates to an object of experience — 
an experience which must be adequate to and in accordance 
with a possible conception of the understanding — must be 
completely void and without significance, inasmuch as its 
object is inadequate, consider it as we may. And this is 
actually the case with all cosmological conceptions, which, 
for the reason above-mentioned, involve reason, so long as 
it remains attached to them, in an unavoidable antinomy. 
For suppose: 

First, that the world has no beginning — in this case it is 
too large for our conception; for this conception, which 
consists in a successive regress, cannot overtake the whole 
eternity that has elapsed. Grant that if has a beginning, it 
is then too small for the conception of the understanding. 


For, as a be^nning preaupposea a time preceding, it. cannot 
be unGonditictaed; and the law of the empirical employment 
of tha understanding imposes the necessity of IboMng for 
a higher condition of time; and the world is, therefore, 
evidently too small for this law. 

The same is th& case with the double answer to the ques- 
tion regarding the extent, in space, of the world. For, if it 
is infinite and unlimited, it must be too large for every possi- 
ble empirical conception. If it is finite and limited, we have 
a right to ask — what determines these limits ? Void space 
IS not a self-subsistent. correlate of things, and cannot be a 
final condition — and still less an empirical condition, form- 
ing a part of a possible experience. For how can we have 
any experience or perception of an absolute void ? But the 
absolute totality of the empirical synthesis requires that the 
unconditioned be an empirical conception. Consequently, 
a finite world is too small for our conception. 

Secondly, if every phenomenon (matter) in space consists 
of an infinite number of parts, the regress of the division is 
always too great for our conception; and if the division of 
space must cease with some member of the division (the sim- 
ple), it is too small for the idea of the unconditioned. For 
the member at which we have discontinued our division still 
admits a regress to many more parts contained in the object. 

Thirdly, suppose that every event in the world happens 
in accordance with the laws of nature; the causality of a 
cause must itself be an event, and necessitates a regress to 
a still higher cause, and consequently the unceasing pro- 
longation of the series of conditions a parte priori. Oper- 
ative nature is therefore too large for every conception 
we can form in the synthesis of cosmical events. 

If we admit the existence of spontaneously produced 
events j that is, of Jree agency, we are driven, in our search 
for' sufficient reasons, on an unavoidable law of nature, and 
are compelled to appeal to the empirical law of causality, 
and we find that any such totality of connection in our syn 
thesis is too small for our necessary empirical conception. 


Fourthly, if we assume the existence of an absolutely nec- 
essary being — whether it be the world or something in the 
world, or the cause of the world ; we must place it in a time 
at an infinite distance from any given moment; for other- 
wise, it must be dependent on some other and higher exist- 
ence. Such an existence is, in this case, too large for our 
empirical conception, and unattainable by the continued 
regress of any synthesis. 

But if we believe that everything in the world — be it 
condition or conditioned — is contingent; every given exist- 
ence is too small for our conception. For in this case we 
are compelled to seek for some other existence upon which 
the former depends. 

We have said that in all these cases the cosmological idea 
is either too great or too small for the empirical regress in 
a synthesis, and consequently for every possible conception 
of the understanding. Why did we not express ourselves 
in a manner exactly the reverse of this, and, instead of ac- 
cusing the cosmological idea of overstepping or of falling 
short of its true aim — possible experience, say that, in the 
first case, the empirical conception is always too small for 
the idea, and in the second too great, and thus attach the 
blame of these contradictions to the empirical regress ? The 
reason is this. Possible experience can alone give reality to 
our conceptions; without it a conception is merely an idea, 
without truth or relation to an object. Hence a possible 
empirical conception must be the standard by which we are 
to judge whether an idea is anything more than an idea and 
fiction of thought, or whether it relates to an object in the 
world. If we say of a thing that in relation to some other 
thing it is too large or too small, the former is considered 
as existing for the sake of the latter, and requiring to be 
adapted to it. Among the trivial subjects of discussion in 
the old schools of dialectics was this question : If a ball can- 
not pass through a hole, shall we say that the ball is too 
large or the hole too small? In this case it is indifferent 
what expression we employ ; for we do not know which ex- 


ists for the sake of the other. On the other hand, we cannot 
say — the man is too long for his coat, but — the coat is too 
short for the man. 

We are thus led to the well-founded suspicion, that the 
ccsmological ideas, and all the conflicting sophistical asser- 
tions connected with them, are based upon a false and ficti- 
tious conception of the mode in which the object of these 
ideas is presented to us; and this suspicion will probably 
direct us how to expose the illusion that has so long led 
us astray from the truth. 


Section Sixth 

Transcendental Idealism as the Key to the Solution of Pure 
Gosmological Dialectic 

In the transcendental aesthetic, we proved, that every- 
thing intuited in space and time — all objects of a possible 
experience, are nothing but phenomena, that is, mere repre- 
sentations; and that these, as presented to us — as extended 
bodies, or as series of changes — have no self-subsistent ex- 
istence apart from human thought. This doctrine I call 
Transcendental Idealism.^ The realist in the transcendental 
sense regards these modifications of our sensibility — these 
mere representations, as things subsisting in themselves. 

It would be unjust to accuse us of holding the long- 
decried theory of empirical idealism, which, while admitting 
the reality of space, denies, or at least doubts, the existence 
of bodies extended in it, and thus leaves us without a suffi- 
cient criterion of reality and illusion. The supporters of this 
theory find no difficulty in admitting the reality of the phe- 
nomena of the internal sense in time; nay, they go the 
length of maintaining that this internal experience is of 

' I have elsewhere termed this theory /ormo? ideahsm, to distinguish it from 
material idealism, which doubts or denies the existence of external things. To 
avoid ambiguity, it seems advisable in many cases to employ this term instead 
of that mentioned in the texK 


itself a sufficient proof of the real existence of its object 
as a thing in itself. 

Transcendental idealism allows that the objects of exter- 
nal intuition — as intuited in space, and all changes in time — 
as represented by the internal sense, are real. For, as space 
is the form of that intuition which we call external, and, 
without objects in space, no empirical representation could 
be given us; we can and ought to regard extended bodies 
in it as real. The case is the same with representations in 
time. But time and space, with all phenomena therein, are 
not in themselves things. They are nothing but representa- 
tions, and cannot exist out of and apart from the mind. 
Nay, the sensuous internal intuition of the mind (as the 
object of consciousness), the determination of which is rep- 
resented by the succession of different states in time, is not 
the real, proper self, as it exists in itself — not the transcen- 
dental subject, but only a phenomenon, which is presented 
to the sensibility of this, to us, unknown being. This inter- 
nal phenomenon cannot be admitted to be a self-subsisting 
thing; for its condition is time, and time cannot be the con- 
dition of a thing in itself. But the empirical truth of phe- 
nomena in space and time is guaranteed beyond the possibil- 
ity of doubt, and sufficiently distinguished from the illusion 
of dreams or fancy — although both have a proper and thor- 
ough connection in an experience according to empirical 
laws. The objects of experience then are not things in 
themselves,' but are given only in experience, and have 
no existence apart from and independently of experience. 
That there may be inhabitants in the moon, although no 
one has ever observed them, must certainly be admitted; 
but this assertion means only, that we may in the possible 
progress of experience discover them at some future time. 
For that, which stands in connection with a perception ac- 
cording to the laws of the progress of. experience, is real. 
TJiey are therefore really existent, if they - stand in empirical 
connection with my actual or real consciousness, although 
' Dmgo an sicb, Sachen an -sich. 


they are not in themselves real, that is, apart from the 
progress of experience. 

There is nothing actually given — we can be conscious 
of nothing as real, except a perception and the empirical 
progression from it to other possible perceptions. For phe- 
nomena, as mere representations, are real only in perception; 
and perception is, in fact, nothing but the reality of an em- 
pirical representation, that is, a phenomenon. To call a 
phenomenon a real thing prior to perception, means either 
that we must meet with this phenomenon in the progress of 
experience, or it means nothing at all. For I can say only 
of a thing in itself that it exists without relation to the 
senses and experience. But we are speaking here merely 
of phenomena in space and time, both of which are "deter- 
minations of sensibility, and not of things in themselves. 
It follows that phenomena are not things in themselves, but 
are mere representations, which, if not given in us — in per- 
ception, are non-existent. 

The faculty of sensuous intuition is properly a recep- 
tivity — a capacity of being affected in a certain manner by 
representations, the relation of which to each other is a 
pure intuition of space and time — the pure forms of sensi- 
bility. These representations, in so far as they are con- 
nected and determinable in this relation (in space and time) 
according to laws of the unity of experience, are called 
objects. The non-sensuous cause of these representations is 
completely unknown to us, and hence cannot be intuited 
as an object. For such an object could not be represented 
either in space or in time; and without these conditions in- 
tuition or representation is impossible. We may, at the 
same time, term the non-sensuous cause of phenomena the 
transcendental object — but merely as a mental correlate to 
sensibility, considered as a receptivity. To this transcen- 
dental object we may attribute the whole connection and 
extent of our possible perceptions, and say that it is given 
and exists in itself prior to all experience. But the phe- 
nomena corresponding to it are not given as things in 


themselves, but in experience alone. For they are mere 
representations, receiving from perceptions alone signifi- 
cance and relation to a real object, under the condition that 
this or that perception — indicating an object — is in complete 
connection with all others in accordance with the rules of 
the unity of experience. Thus we can say: the things that 
really existed in past time are given in the transcendental 
object of experience. But these are to me real objects, only 
in so far as I can represent to my own mind, that a regres- 
sive series of possible perceptions — following the indications 
of history, or the footsteps of cause and effect — in accord- 
ance with empirical laws — that, in one word, the course of 
the world conducts us to an elapsed series of time as the 
condition of the present time. This series in past time is 
represented as real, not in itself, but only in connection with 
a possible experience. Thus, when I say that certain events 
occurred in past time, I merely assert the possibility of pro- 
longing the chain of experience, from the present percep- 
tion, upward to the conditions that determine it according 
to time. 

If I represent to myself all objects existing in all space 
and time, I do not thereby place these in space and time 
prior to all experience; on the contrary, such a representa- 
tion is nothing more than the notion of a possible experi- 
ence, in its absolute completeness. In experience alone are 
those objects, which are nothing but representations, given. 
But, when I say, they existed prior to my experience, this 
means only that I must begin with the perception present to 
me, and follow the track indicated until I discover them in 
some part or region of experience. The cause of the empiri- 
cal condition of this progression — and consequently at what 
member therein I must stop, and at what point in the regress 
I am to find this member — is transcendental, and hence nec- 
essarily incognizable. But with this we have not to do; our 
concern is only with the law of progression in experience, in 
which objects, that is, phenomena; are given. It is a matter 
of indifference whether I say — I may in the progress of ex- 


perience discover stars, at a hundred times greater distance 
than the most distant of those now visible, or — stars at this 
distance may be met in space, although no one has, or ever 
will discover them. For, if they are given as things in them- 
selves, without any relation to possible experience, they are 
for me non-existent, consequently, are not objects, for they 
are not contained in the regressive series of experience. But, 
if these phenomena must be employed in the construction or 
support of the cosmological idea of an absolute whole — and 
when we are discussing a question that oversteps the limits 
of possible experience — the proper distinction of the differ- 
ent theories of the reality of sensuous objects is of great 
importance, in order to avoid the illusion which must nec- 
essarily arise from the misinterpretation of our empirical 


Section Seventh 

Critical Solution of the Cosmological Problem 

The antinomy of pure reason is based upon the following 
dialectical argument: If that which is conditioned is given, 
the whole series of its conditions is also given; but sensuous 
objects are given as conditioned; consequently. . . . This 
syllogism, the major of which seems so natural and evident, 
introduces as many cosmological ideas as there are different 
kinds of conditions in the synthesis of phenomena, in so far 
as these conditions constitute a series. These ideas require 
absolute totality in the series, and thus place reason in inex- 
tricable embarrassment. Before proceeding to expose the 
fallacy in this dialectical argument, it will be necessary to 
have a correct understanding of certain conceptions that 
appear in it. 

In the first place, the following proposition is evident, 
and indubitably certain: If the conditioned is given, a re- 
gress in the series of all its conditions is thereby impera- 
tively required. For the very conception of a conditioned, 
is a conception of something related to a condition, and, if 


this condition is itself conditioned, to another condition — 
and so on through all the members of the series. This prop- 
osition is, therefore, analytical, and has nothing to fear from 
transcendental criticism. It is a logical postulate of reason: 
to pursue, as far as possible, the connection of a conception 
with its conditions. 

If, in the second place, both the conditioned and the con- 
dition are things in themselves, and if the former is given, 
not only is the regress to the latter requisite, but the latter 
is really given with the former. Now, as this is true of all 
the members of the series, the entire series of conditions, 
and with them the unconditioned, is at the same time given 
in the very fact of the conditioned, the existence of which 
is possible only in and through that series, being given. In 
this case, the synthesis of the conditioned with its condition, 
is a synthesis of the understanding merely, which represents 
things as they are, without regarding whether and how we 
can cognize them. But if I have to do with phenomena, 
which, in their character of mere representations, are not 
given, if I do not attain to a cognition of them (in other 
words, to themselves, for they are nothing more than em- 
pirical cognitions), I am not entitled to say: If the condi- 
tioned is given, all its conditions (as phenomena) are also 
given. I cannot, therefore, from the fact of a conditioned 
being given, infer the absolute totality of the series of its 
conditions. For phenomena are nothing but an empirical 
synthesis in apprehension or perception, and are therefore 
given only in it. Now, in speaking of phenomena, it does 
not follow, that, if the conditioned is given, the synthesis 
which constitutes its empirical condition is also thereby 
fjiven and presupposed; such a synthesis can be established 
only by ah actual regress in the series of conditions. But 
we are entitled to say in this case: that a regress to the con- 
ditions of a conditioned, in other words, that a continuous 
empirical synthesis is enjoined; that, if the conditions are 
not given, they are at least required ; and that we are certain 
to discover the conditions in this regress. 


We can now see that the major in the above cosmological 
syllogism takes the conditioned in the transcendental signifi- 
cation which it has in the pure category, while the minor 
speaks of it in the empirical signification which it has in the 
category as applied to phenomena. There is, therefore, a 
dialectical fallacy in the syllogism — a sophisma figurce die- 
tionis. But this fallacy is not a consciously devised one, 
but a perfectly natural illusion of the common reason of 
man. For, when a thing is given as conditioned, we pre- 
suppose in the major its conditions and their series, unper- 
ceived, as it were, and unseen; because this is nothing more 
than the logical requirement of complete and satisfactory 
premises for a given conclusion. In this case, time is alto- 
gether left out in the connection of the conditioned with the 
condition; they are supposed to be given in themselves, and 
contemporaneously. It is, moreover, just as natural to regard 
phenomena (in the minor) as things in themselves and as ob- 
jects presented to the pure understanding, as in the major, 
in which complete abstraction was made of all conditions of 
intuition. But it is under these conditions alone that objects 
are given. Now we overlooked a remarkable distinction 
between the conceptions. The synthesis of the conditioned 
with its condition, and the complete series of the latter (in 
the major) are not limited by time, and do not contain the 
conception of succession. On the contrary, the empirical 
synthesis, and the series of conditions in the phenomenal 
world — subsumed in the minor — are necessarily successive, 
and given in time alone. It follows 'that I cannot presup- 
pose in the minor, as I did in the major, the absolute totality 
of the synthesis and of the series therein represented ; for in 
the major all the members of the series are given as things 
in themselves — without any limitations or conditions of time, 
while in the minor they are possible only in and through a 
successive regress, which cannot exist, except it be actually 
carried into execution in the world of phenomena. 

After this proof of the viciousness of the argument com- 
monly employed in maintaining cosmological assertions, both 

XI — Science — 1 7 


parties may now be justly dismissed, as advancing claimg 
without grounds or title. But the process has not been 
ended, by convincing them that one or both were in the 
wrong, and had maintained an assertion which was without 
valid grounds of proof. Nothing seems to be clearer than 
that, if one maintains: the world has a beginning, and an- 
other: the world has no beginning, one of the two must 
be right. But it is likewise clear, that, if the evidence on 
both sides is equal, it is impossible to discover on what side 
the truth lies; and the controversy continues, although the 
parties have been recommended to peace before the tribunal 
of reason. There remains, then, no other means of settling 
the question than to convince the parties, who refute each 
other with such conclusiveness and ability, that they arc 
disputing about nothing, and that a transcendental illusion 
has been mocking them with visions of reality where there 
is none. This mode of adjusting a dispute which cannot be 
decided upon its own merits, we shall now proceed to lay 
before our readers. 

Zeno of Elea, a subtle dialectician, was severely repri- 
manded by Plato as a sophist, who, merely from the base 
motive of exhibiting his skill in discussion, maintained and 
subverted the same proposition by arguments as powerful 
and convincing on the one side as on the other. He main- 
tained, for example, that God (who was probably nothing 
more, in his view, than the world) is neither finite nor in- 
finite, neither in motion nor in rest, neither similar nor dis- 
similar to any other thing. It seemed to those philosophers 
who criticised his mode of discussion, that his purpose was 
to deny completely both of two self -contradictory proposi- 
tions — which is absurd. But I cannot believe that there is 
any justice in this accusation. The first of these proposi- 
tions I shall presently consider in a more detailed manner. 
With regard to the others, if by the word God he under- 
stood merely the Universe, his meaning must have been, 
that it cannot be permanently present in one place — that 


is, at rest, nor be capable of cbanging its place — that is, of 
moviag, because all places are in the universe, and the uni- 
verse itself is, therefore, in no place. Again, if the universe 
contains in itself everything that exists, it cannot be similar 
or dissimilar to any other thing, because there is, in fact, no 
other thing with which it can be compared. If two opposite 
judgments presuppose a contingent impossible, or arbitrary 
condition, both — in spite of their opposition (which is, how- 
ever, not properly or really a contradiction) — fall away ; be- 
cau^ the condition, which insured the validity of both, has 
itself disappeared. 

If we say : every body has either a good or a bad smell, 
we have omitted a third possible judgment — it has no smell 
at all; and thus both conflicting statements may be false. 
If we say: it is either good-smelling or not good-smelling 
{vel suaveolens vel non-suaveolens), both judgments are con- 
tradictorily opposed; and the contradictory opposite of the 
former judgment — some bodies are not good-smelling — em- 
braces also those bodies which have no smell at all. In 
the preceding pair of opposed judgments {per disparata), 
the contingent condition of the conception of body (smell) 
attached to both conflicting statements, instead of having 
been omitted in the latter, which is consequently not the 
contradictory opposite of the former. 

If, accordingly, we say: the world is either infinite in 
extension,, or it is not infinite {non est infinitus); and if the 
former proposition is false, its contradictory opposite — 
the world is not infinite, must be true. And thus I should 
deny the existence of an infinite, without, however, affirm- 
ing the existence of a finite world. But if we construct our 
proposition thus — the world is either infinite or finite (non- 
infinite), both statements may be false. For, ia this case, 
we consider the world as per se determined in regard to 
quantity, and whilcj in the one judgment, we deny its in- 
finite and consequently, perhaps, its independent existence ; 
in the other, we append to the world, regarded as a thing in 
itself, a certain determination — that of finitude; and the 


latter may be false as well as tlie former, if the world is not 
given as a thing in itself^ and thus neither as finite nor as 
infinite in quantity. This kind of opposition I may be 
allowed to term dialectical; that of contradictories may 
be called analytical opposition. Thus then, of two dialec- 
tically opposed judgments both may be false, from the fact, 
that the one is not a mere contradictory of the other, but 
actually enounces more than is requisite for a full and com- 
plete contradiction. 

When we regard the two propositions — the world is in- 
finite in quantity, and, the world is finite in quantity, as 
contradictory opposites, we are assuming that the world — 
the complete series of phenomena — is a thing in itself. For 
it remains as a permanent quantity, whether I deny the 
infinite or the finite regress in the series of its phenomena. 
But if we dismiss this assumption — this transcendental illu- 
sion, and deny that it is a thing in' itself, the contradictory 
opposition is metamorphosed into a merely dialectical one; 
and the world, as not existing in itself — independently of 
the regressive series of my representations, exists in like 
manner neither as a whole which is infinite nor as a whole 
which is finite in itself. The universe exists for me only in 
the empirical regress of the series of phenomena, and not 
'per se. If, then, it is always conditioned, it is never given 
completely or as a whole; and it is, therefore, not an uncon- 
ditioned whole, and does not exist as such, either with an 
infinite, or with a finite quantity. 

What we have here said of the first cosmological idea — ■ 
that of the absolute totality of quantity in phenomena, ap- 
plies also to the others. The series of conditions is dis- 
coverable only in the regressive synthesis itself, and not in 
the phenomenon considered as a thing in itself — given prior 
to all regress. Hence I am compelled to say : the aggregate 
of parts in a given phenomenon is in itself neither finite nor 
infinite; and these parts are given only in the regressive 
synthesis of decomposition — a synthesis which is never 
given in absolute completeness, either as finite, or as infinite. 


The same is the case with, the series of subordinated causes, 
or of the conditioned up to the unconditioned and necessary 
existence, which can never be regarded as in itself, and in 
its totality, either as finite or as infinite ; because, as a series 
of subordinate representations, it subsists only in the dy- 
namical regress, and cannot be regarded as existing previ- 
ously to this regress, or as a self-subsistent series of things. 

Thus the antinomy of pure reason in its cosmological 
ideas disappears. For the above demonstration has estab- 
lished the fact that it is merely the product of a dialectical 
and illusory opposition, which arises from the application of 
the idea of absolute totality — admissible only as a condition 
of things in themselves, to phenomena, which exist only in 
our representations, and — when constituting a series — in a 
successive regress. This antinomy of reason may, however, 
be really profitable to oixr speculative interests, not in the 
way of contributing any dogmatical addition, but as present- 
ing to us another material support in our critical investi- 
gations. For it furnishes us with an indirect proof of the 
transcendental ideality of phenomena, if our minds were not 
completely satisfied with the direct proof set forth in the 
Transcendental Esthetic. The proof would proceed in 
the following dilemma. If the world is a whole existing 
in itself, it must be either finite or infinite. But it is neither 
finite nor infinite — as has been shown, on the one side, by 
the thesis, on the other, by the antithesis. Therefore the 
world — the content of all phenomena — is not a whole exist- 
ing in itself. It follows that phenomena are nothing, apart 
from our representations. And this is what we mean by 
transcendental ideality. 

This remark is of some importance. It enables us to see 
that the proofs of the fourfold antinomy are not mere soph- 
istries — are not fallacious, but grounded on the nature of 
reason, and valid — under the supposition that phenomena 
are things in themselves. The opposition of the judgments 
which follow make it evident that a fallacy lay in the initial 
supposition, and thus helps us to discover the true consti- 


tution of objects of sense. This transcendental dialectic 
does not favor scepticism, although it presents us with a 
triumphant demonstration of the advantages of the sceptical 
method, the great utility of which is apparent in the anti- 
nomy, where the arguments of reason were allowed to con- 
front each other in undiminished force. And although the 
result of these conflicts of reason is not what we expected — 
although we have obtained no positive dogmatical addition 
to metaphysical science, we have still reaped a great advan- 
tage in the correction of our judgments on these subjects 
of thought. 


Section Eighth 

Regulative Principle of Pure Reason in Relation to the Cos- 
mological Ideas 

The cosmological principle of totality could not give us 
any certain knowledge in regard to the maximum in the 
series of conditions in the world of sense, considered as a 
Ifhing in itself. The actual regress in the series is the only 
means of approaching this maximum. This principle of 
pure reason, therefore, may still be considered as valid — 
not as an axiom enabling us to cogitate totality in the object 
as actual, but as a problem for the understanding, which 
requires it to institute and to continue, in conformity with 
the idea of totality in the mind, the regress in the series of 
the conditions of a given conditioned. For in the world 
of sense, that is, in space and time, every condition which 
we discover in our investigation of phenomena is itself con- 
ditioned; because sensuous objects are not things in them- 
selves (in which case an absolutely unconditioned might be 
reached in the progress of cognition), but are merely em- 
pirical representations, the conditions of which must always 
be found in intuition. The priaciple of reason is therefore 
properly a mere rule — prescribing a regress in the series of 
conditions for given phenomena, and prohibiting any pause 


or rest on an absolutely unconditioned. It is, therefore, not 
a principle of the possibility of experience or of the empirical 
cognition of sensuous objects — consequently not a principle 
of the understanding; for every experience is confined 
within certain proper limits determined by the given intui- 
tion. Still less is it a constitutive principle of reason author- 
izing us to extend our conception of the sensuous world 
beyond all possible experience. It is merely a principle for 
the enlargement and extension of experience as far as is 
possible for human faculties. It forbids us to consider any 
empirical limits as absolute. It is, hence, a principle of 
reason, which, as a rule, dictates how we ought to proceed 
in our empirical regress, but is unable to anticipate or in- 
dicate prior to the empirical regress what is given in the 
object itself. I have termed it for this reason a regulative 
principle of reason; while the principle of the absolute 
totality of the series of conditions, as existing in itself and 
given in the object, is a constitutive cosmological principle. 
This distinction will at once demonstrate the falsehood of 
the constitutive principle, and prevent us from attributing 
(by a transcendental subreptio) objective reality to an idea, 
which is valid only as a rule. 

In order to understand the proper meaning of this rule of 
pure reason, we must notice, first, that it cannot tell us what 
the object is, but only how the empirical regress is to be pro- 
ceeded with in order to attain to the complete conception of 
the object. If it gave us any information in respect to the 
former statement, it would be a constitutive principle — a 
principle impossible from the nature of pure reason. It will 
not therefore enable us to establish any such conclusions 
as — the series of conditions for a given conditioned is in 
itself finite, or, it is infinite. For, in this case, we should 
be cogitating in the mere idea of absolute totality, an object 
which is not and cannot be given in experience; inasmuch 
as we should be attributing a reality objective and indepen 
dent of the empirical synthesis to a series of phenomena. 
This idea of reason cannot then be regarded as valid — except 


as a, rule for the regressive synthesis in the series of eo-ndi- 
tions, according to which we must proceed from the condi- 
tioned, through all intermediate and subordinate conditions, 
up to the unconditioned; although this goal is anattained 
and unattainable. For the absolutely unconditioned cannot 
be discoTcred in the sphere of experience. 

We now proceed to determine clearly our notion of a 
synthesis which can never be complete. There are two 
terms commonly employed for this purpose. These terms 
are regarded as expressions of different and distinguishable 
notions, although the ground of the distinction has never 
been clearly exposed. The term employed by the mathe- 
maticians, is progressus in infinitum. The philosophers 
prefer the expression progressus in indefinitum. Without 
detaining the reader with an examination of the reasons 
for such a distinction, or with remarks on the right or wrong 
use of the terms, I shall endeavor clearly to determine these 
conceptions, so far as is necessary for the purpose of 
this Critique. 

We may, with propriety, say of a straight line, that it 
may be produced to infinity. In this case the distinction 
between a progressus in infinitum and a progressus in inde- 
finitum is a mere piece of subtlety. For, although when we 
say, produce a straight line — it is more correct to say in 
indefinitum than in infinitum; because the former means, 
produce it as far as you pflease, the second, you must not 
cease to produce it; the expression in infinitum is, when we 
are spealdng of the power to do it, perfectly correct, for 
we can always make it longer if we please — on to infinity. 
And this remark holds good in all cases, when we speak of 
a progressus, that is, an advancement from the condition to 
the conditioned; this possible advancement always proceeds 
to infinity. We may proceed from a given pair in the de- 
scending line of generation from father to son, and cogitate 
a never-ending line of descendants from it. For in such a 
case reason does not demand absolute totality in the series, 
because it does not presuppose it as a condition and as given 


{datum), but merely as conditioned, and as capable of being 
given {ddbile). 

Yerj different is the case with the problem — how far 
the regress, which ascends from the given conditioned to 
the conditions, must extend; whether I can say — it is a 
regress in infinitum, or only in indefinitum; and whether, for 
example, setting out from, the human beings at present alive 
in the world, I may ascend in the series of their ancestors, 
in infinitum — or whether all that can be said is, that, so far 
as I have proceeded, I have discovered no empirical ground 
for considering the series limited, so that I am justified, and 
indeed compelled to search for ancestors still further back, 
although I am not obliged by the idea of reason to pre- 
suppose them. 

My answer to this question is : If the series is given in 
empirical intuition as a whole, the regress in the series of 
its internal conditions proceeds in infinitum; but, if only 
one member of the series is given, from which the regress is 
to proceed to absolute totality, the regress is possible only 
in indefinitum. For example, the division of a portion of 
matter given within certain limits — of a body, that is — pro- 
ceeds in infinitum. For, as the condition of this whole is 
its part, and the condition of the part a part of the part, and 
so on, and as in this regress of decomposition an uncondi- 
tioned indivisible member of the series of conditions is not 
to be found; there are no reasons or grounds in experience 
for stopping in the division, but, on the contrary, the more 
remote members of the division are actually and empirically 
given prior to this division. That is to say, the division 
proceeds to infinity. On the other hand, the series of ances- 
tors of any given human being is not given, in its absolute 
totality, in any experience; and yet the regress proceeds 
from every genealogical member of this series to one still 
higher, and does not meet with any empirical limit present- 
ing an absolutely unconditioned member of the series. But 
as the members of such a series are not contained in the 
empirical intuition of the whole, prior to the regress, this 


regress does not proceed to infinity, but only in indefinitum, 
that is, we are called upon to discover other and higher 
members, which are themselves always conditioned. 

In neither case — the regressus in infinitum, nor the re- 
gressus in indefinitum — is the series of conditions to be con- 
sidered as actually infinite in the object itself. This might 
be true of things in themselves, but it cannot be asserted 
of phenomena, which, as conditions of each other, are only 
given in the empirical regress itself. Hence, the question 
no longer is, What is the quantity of this series of conditions 
in itself — ^is it finite or infinite? for it is nothing in itself; 
but, How is the empirical regress to be commenced, and how 
far ought we to proceed with it ? And here a signal distinc- 
tion in the application of this rule becomes apparent. If 
the whole is given empirically, it is possible to recede in the 
series of its internal conditions to infinity. But if the whole 
is not given, and can only be given by and through the em- 
pirical regress, I can only say — it is possible to infinity,' to 
proceed to still higher conditions in the series. In the first 
case I am justified in asserting that more members are 
empirically given in the object than I attain to in the regress 
(of decomposition). In the second case, I am justified only 
in saying, that I can always proceed further in the regress, 
because no member of the series is given as absolutely 
conditioned, and thus a higher member is possible, and an 
inquiry with regard to it is necessary. In the one case it is 
necessary to find other members of the series, in the other 
it is necessary to inquire for others, inasmuch as experience 
presents no absolute limitation of the regress. For, either 
you do not possess a perception which absolutely limits 
your empirical regress, and in this case the regress cannot 
be regarded as complete; or, you do possess such a limita- 
tive perception, in which case it is not a part of your series 
(for that which limits must be distinct from that which is 

' Kant's meaning is: Infinity, in the first case, is a quality, or may be 
predicated of the regress; while in the second case, it is only to be predicated 
of the possibility of the regress. — Tr. 


limited by it), and it is incumbent on you to continae your 
regress up to tWs condition, and so on. 

These remarks will be placed in their proper light by 
their application in the following section. 


Section Ninth 

0/ the Empirical Use of the Regulative Principle of Reason, 
with regard to the Gosmological Ideas 

We have shown that no transcendental use can be made 
either of the conceptions of reason or of understanding. We 
have shown, likewise, that the demand of absolute totality 
in the series of conditions in the world of sense arises from a 
transcendental employment of reason, resting on the opinion 
that phenomena are to be regarded as things in themselves. 
It follows that we are not required to answer the question 
respecting the absolute quantity of a series — whether it is 
in itself limited or unlimited. We are only called upon to 
determine how far we must proceed in the empirical regress 
from condition to condition, in order to discover, in con- 
formity with the rule of reason, a full and correct answer 
to the questions proposed by reason itself. 

This principle of reason is hence valid only as a rule for 
the extension of a possible experience — its invalidity as a 
principle constitutive of phenomena in themselves having 
been sufficiently demonstrated. And thus, too, the anti- 
nomial conflict of reason with itself is completely put an 
end to; inasmuch as we have not only presented a critical 
solution of the fallacy lurking in the opposite statements of 
reason, but have shown the true meaning of the ideas which 
gave rise to these statements. The dialectical principle of 
reason has, therefore, been changed into a doctrinal prin- 
ciple. But in fact, if this principle, in the subjective signifi- 
cation which we have shown to be its only true sense, may 
be guaranteed as a principle of the unceasing extension 
of the employment of our understanding, its influence and 


value are just as great as if it were an axiom for tlie apriori 
determination of objects. For sucli an axiom could not 
exert a stronger influence on the extension and rectiiication 
of our knowledge, otherwise than by procuring for the 
principles of the understanding the most widely expanded 
employment in the field of experience. 


Solution of the Cosmohgical Idea of the Totality of the 
Composition of Phenomena in the Universe 

Here, as well as in the case of the other cosmological 
problems, the ground of the regulative principle of reason 
is the proposition, that in our empirical regress no experience 
of an absolute limit, and consequently no experience of a 
condition which is itself ahsofutely unconditioned, is dis- 
coverable. And the truth of this proposition itself rests 
upon the consideration, that such an experience must rep- 
resent to us phenomena as limited by nothing or the mere 
void, on which our continued regress by means of percep- 
tion must abut — which is impossible. 

Now this proposition, which declares that every condition 
attained in the empirical regress must itself be considered 
empirically conditioned, contains the rule in terminis, which 
requires me, to whatever extent I may have proceeded in 
the ascending series, always to look for some, higher member 
in the series — whether this member is to become known to 
me through experience, or not. 

Nothing further is necessary, then, for the solution of 
the first cosmological problem, than to decide, whether, in 
the regress to the unconditioned quantity of the universe 
(as regards space and time), this never limited ascent ought 
to be called a regressus in infinitum or in indefinitum. 

The general representation which we form in our minds 
of the series of all past states or conditions of the world, or 
of all the things which at present exist in it, is itself nothing 
more than a possible empirical regress, which is cogitated — 
although in an undetermined manner — in the mind, and 


which gives rise to the conception of a series of conditions 
for a given object. ' Now I have a conception of the uni- 
verse, but not an intuition — that is, not an intuition of it as 
a whole. Thus I cannot infer the magnitude of the regress 
from the quantity or magnitude of the world, and determine 
the former by means of the latter; on the contrary, I must 
first of all form a conception of the quantity or magilitude 
of the world from the magnitude of the empirical regress. 
But of this regress I know nothing more, than that I ought 
to proceed from every given member of the series of condi- 
tions to one still higher. But the quantity of the universe 
is not thereby determined, and we cannot affirm that this 
regress proceeds in infinitum. Such an affirmation would 
ayiticipate the members of" the series which have not yet 
been reached, and represeH#the number of them as beyond 
the grasp of any empirical synthesis ; it would consequently 
determine the cosmical quantity prior to the regress (although 
only in a negative manner) — ^which is impossible. For the 
world is not given in its totality in any intuition; conse- 
quently, its quantity cannot be given prior to the regress. 
It follows that we are unable to make any declaration re- 
specting the cosmical quantity in itself — not even that the 
regress in it is a regress in infinitum; we must only endeavor 
to attain to a conception of the quantity of the universe, in 
conformity with the rule which determines the empirical 
regress in it. But this rule merely requires us never to 
admit an absolute limit to our series — how far soever we 
may have proceeded in it, but always, on the contrary, to 
subordinate every phenomenon to some other as its condi- 
tion, and consequently to proceed to this higher phenome- 
non. Such a regress is, therefore, the regressus in indefini- 
turn, which, as not determining a quantity in the object, is 
clearly distinguishable from the regressus in infinitum. 

' The cosmical series can neither be greater nor amaUer than the possible 
empirical regress, upon which its conception is based. And as this regress 
cannot be a determinate infinite regress, still less a determinate finite (absolutely 
limited), it is evident, that we cannot regard the world as either finite or Infinite, 
because the regress, which gives us the representation of the world, is neither 
finite nor infinite. 


It follows from what we have said that we are not jus- 
tified in declaring the world to be infinite in space, or as 
regards past time. For this conception of an infinite given 
quantity is empirical; but we cannot apply the conception 
of an infinite quantity to the world as an object of the 
senses. I cannot say, the regress from a given perception 
to everything limited either in space or time, proceeds in 
infinitum — for this presupposes an infinite cosmical quantity ; 
neither can I say, it is finite — for an absolute limit is like- 
wise impossible in experience. It follows that I am not 
entitled to make any assertion at all respecting the whole 
object of experience — the world of sense ; I must limit my 
declarations to the rule, according to which experience or 
empirical knowledge is to be attained. 

To the question, therefore, respecting the cosmical quan- 
tity, the first and negative answer is: The world has no 
beginning in time, and no absolute limit in space. 

For, in the contrary case, it would be limited by a void 
time on the one hand, and by a void space on the other. 
Now, since the world, as a phenomenon, cannot be thus 
limited in itself — for a phenomenon is not a thing in itself; 
it must be possible for us to have a perception of this 
limitation by a void time and a void space. But such a 
perception — such an experience is impossible; because it 
has no content. Consequently, an absolute cosmical limit is 
empirically, and therefore absolutely, impossible.' 

From this follows the affirmative answer: The regress in 
the series of phenomena — as a determination of the cosmical 
quantity — proceeds in indefinitum. This is equivalent to 
saying — the world of sense has no absolute quantity, but the 
empirical regress (through which alone the world of sense is 

• The reader will remark that the proof presented above is very difEerent 
from the dogmatical demonstration given in the antithesis of the first antinomy. 
In that demonstration, it was taken for granted that the world is a thing in 
itself — given in its totality prior to all regress, and a determined position 
in space and time was denied to it — if it was not considered as occupying all 
time and all space. Hence our conclusion differed from that given above; for 
we inferred in the antithesis the actual infinity of the world. 


presented to us on the side of its conditions) rests upon a 
rule, wliicli requires it to proceed from every member of the 
series— as conditioned, to one still more remote (whether 
through personal experience, or by means of history, or the 
chain of cause and effect), and not to cease at any point in 
this extension of the possible empirical employment of the 
understanding. And this is the proper and only use which 
reason can make of its principles. 

The above rule does not prescribe an unceasing regress 
in one kind of phenomena. It does not, for example, forbid 
us, in our ascent from an individual human being through 
the line of his ancestors, to expect that we shall discover at 
some point of the regress a primeval pair, or to admit, in 
the series of heavenly bodies, a sun at the furthest possible 
distance from some centre. All that it demands is a perpetual 
progress from phenomena to phenomena, even although an 
actual perception is not presented by them (as in the case 
of our perceptions being so weak, as that we are unable to 
become conscious of them), since they, nevertheless, belong 
to possible experience. 

Every beginning is in time, and all limits to extension 
are in space. But space and time are in the world of sense. 
Consequently phenomena in the world are conditionally 
limited, but the world itself is not limited, either condition- 
ally or unconditionally. 

For this reason, and because neither the world nor the 
cosmical series of conditions to a given conditioned can be 
completely given, our conception of the cosmical quantity is 
given only in and through the regress and not prior to it— 
in a collective intuition. But the regress itself is really 
nothing more than the determining of the cosmical quantity, 
and cannot therefore give us any determined conception of 
it — still less a conception of a quantity which is, in relation 
to a certain standard, infinite. The regress does not, there- 
fore, proceed to infinity (an infinity given), but only to an 
indefinite extent, for the purpose of presenting to us a quan- 
tity — ^realized only in and through the regress itself. 



Solution of the Gosmological Idea of the Totality of the 
Division of a Whole given in Intuition 

When I divide a whole which is given in intuition, I 
proceed from a conditioned to its conditions. The division 
of the parts of the whole (subdivisio or decompositio) is a 
regress in the series of these conditions. The absolute to- 
tality of this series would be actually attained and given 
to the mind, if the regress could arrive at simple parts. But 
if all the parts in a continuous decomposition are themselves 
divisible, the division, that is to say, the regress, proceeds 
from the conditioned to its conditions infinitum; because 
the conditions (the parts) are themselves contained in the 
conditioned, and, as the latter is given in a limited intuition, 
the former are all given along with it. This regress cannot, 
therefore, be called a regressus in indefnitum, as happened 
in the case of the preceding cosmological idea, the regress in 
which proceeded from the conditioned to the conditions not 
given contemporaneously and along with it, but discoverable 
only through the empirical regress. We are not, however, 
entitled to affirm of a whole of this kind, which is divisible 
in infinitum, that it consists of an infinite number of parts. 
For, although all the parts are contained in the intuition of 
the whole, the whole division is not contained therein. The 
division is contained only in the progressing decomposition 
— in the regress itself, which is the condition of the possibil- 
ity and actuality of the series. Now, as this regress is in- 
finite, all the members (parts) to which it attains must be 
contained in the given whole as an aggregate. But the com- 
plete series of division is not contained therein. For this 
series, being infinite in succession and always incomplete, 
cannot represent an infinite number of members, and still 
less a composition of these members into a whole. 

To apply this remark to space. Every limited part of 
space presented to intuition is a whole, the parts of which 
are always spaces — to whatever extent subdivided. Every 
limited space is hence divisible to infinity. 


Let us again apply tTie remark to an external phenome- 
non inclosed in limits, tliat is, a body. The divisibility of 
a body rests upon the divisibility of space, which is the con- 
dition of the possibility of the body as an extended whole. 
A body is consequently divisible to infinity, though it does 
not, for that reason, consist of an infinite number of parts. 

It certainly seems that, as a body must be cogitated as 
substance in space, the law of divisibility would not be ap- 
plicable to it as substance. 'For we may and ought to grant, 
in the case of space, that division or decomposition, to any 
extent, never can utterly annihilate composition (that is to 
say, the smallest part of space must still consist of spaces); 
otherwise space would entirely cease to exist — which is im- 
possible. But the assertion, on the other hand, that when 
all composition in matter is annihilated in thought, nothing 
remains, does not seem to harmonize with the conception of 
substance, which must be properly the subject of all com- 
position and must remain, even after the conjunction of its 
attributes in space — which constituted a body — is annihilated 
in thought. But this is not the case with substance in the 
phenomenal world, which is not a thing in itself cogitated 
by the pure category. Phenomenal substance is not an ab- 
solute subject; it is merely a permanent sensuous image, 
and nothing more than an intuition, in which the uncondi- 
tioned is not to be found. 

But, although this rule of progress to infinity is legiti- 
mate and applicable to the subdivision of a phenomeon, 
as a mere occupation or filling of space, it is not applicable 
to a whole consisting of a number of distinct parts and con- 
stituting a quantum discreium — that is to say, an organized 
body. It cannot be admitted that every part in an organ- 
ized whole is itself organized, and that, in analyzing it to in- 
finity, we must always meet with organized parts ; although 
we may allow that the parts of the matter which we decom- 
pose hi infinitum, may be organized. For the infinity of the 
division of a phenomenon in space rests altogether on the 
fact that the divisibility of a phenomenon is given only in 


and through this infinity, that is an undetermined number 
of parts is given, while the parts themselves are given and 
determined only in and through the sub-division ; in a word, 
the infinity of the division necessarily presupposes that the 
whole is not already divided in se. Hence our division de- 
termines a number of parts in the whole — a number which 
extends just as far as the actual regress in the division; 
while, on the other hand, the very notion of a body organ- 
ized to infinity represents the whole as already and in itself 
divided. We expect, therefore, to find in it a determinate, 
but, at the same time, infinite, number of parts — which is 
self -contradictory. For we should thus have a whole con- 
taining a series of members which could not be completed 
in any regress — which is infinite, and at the same time com- 
plete in an organized composite. Infinite divisibility is ap- 
plicable only to a quantum continuum, and is based entirely 
on the infinite divisibility of space. But in a quantum dis- 
cretum the multitude of parts or units is always determined, 
and hence always equal to some number. To what extent 
a body may be organized, experience alone can inform us; 
and although, so far as our experience of this or that body 
has extended, we may not have discovered any inorganic 
part, such parts must exist in possible experience. But 
how far the transcendental division of a phenomenon must 
extend, we cannot know from experience — it is a question 
which experience cannot answer; it is answered only by the 
principle of reason which forbids us to consider the empirical 
regress, in the analysis of extended body, as ever absolutely 

Concluding Bemark on the Solution of the Transcendental 

Mathematical Ideas — and Introductory to the 

Solution of the Dynamical Ideas 

We presented the antinomy of pure reason in a tabular 
form, and we endeavored to show the ground of this self- 
contradiction on the part of reason, and the only means of 
bringing it to a conclusion — namely, by declaring both con- 


tradiotory statements to be false. We representee in these 
antinomies the conditions of phenomena as belonging to the 
conditioned according to relations of space and time — which 
is the usual supposition of the common understanding. In 
this respect, all dialectical representations of totality, in the 
series of conditions to a given conditioned, were perfectly 
homogeneous. The condition was always a member of the 
series along with the conditioned, and thus the homogeneity 
of the whole series was assured. In this case the regress 
could never be cogitated as complete; or, if this was the 
case, a member really conditioned was falsely regarded *s 
a primal member, consequently as unconditioned. In such 
an antinomy, therefore, we did not consider the object, that 
is, the conditioned, but the series of conditions belonging 
to the object, and the magnitude of that series. And thus 
arose the difficulty — a difficulty not to be settled by any de- 
cision regarding the claims of the two parties, but simply 
by cutting the knot — by declaring the series proposed by 
reason to be either too long or too short for the understand- 
ing, which could in neither case make its conceptions ade- 
quate with the ideas. 

But we have overlooked, up to this point, an essential 
difference existing between the conceptions of the under- 
standing which reason endeavors to raise to the rank of 
ideas — two of these indicating a mathematical, and two a 
dynamical synthesis of phenomena. Hitherto, it was not 
necessary to signalize this distinction; for, just as in our 
general representation of all transcendental ideas, we consid- 
ered them under phenomenal conditions, so, in the two math- 
ematical ideas, our discussion is concerned solely with an 
object in the world of phenomena. But as we are now about 
to proceed to the consideration of the dynamical conceptions 
of the understanding, and their adequateness with ideas, we 
must not lose sight of this distinction. We shall find that it 
opens up to us an entirely new view of the conflict in which 
reason is involved. For while, in the first two antinomies, 
both parties were dismissed, on the ground of having ad- 


vanced statements based upon false hypotheses; in the pres- 
ent case the hope appears of discovering a hypothesis which 
may be consistent with the demands of reason, and, the judge 
completing the statement of the grounds of claim, which both 
parties had left in an unsatisfactory state, the question may 
be settled on its own merits, not by dismissing the claimants, 
but by a comparison of the arguments on both sides. — If we 
consider merely their extension, and whether they are ade- 
quate with ideas, the series of conditions may be regarded 
as all homogeneous. But the conception of the understand- 
ing which lies at the basis of these ideas, contains either a 
synthesis of the homogeneous (presupposed in every quantity — 
in its composition as well as in its division), or of the heteroge- 
neous, which is the case in the dynamical synthesis of cause 
and effect, as well as of the necessary and the contingent. 

Thus, it happens, that in the mathematical series of phe- 
nomena no other than a sensuous condition is admissible — a 
condition which is itself a member of the series ; while the 
dynamical series of sensuous conditions admits a hetero- 
geneous condition, which is not a member of the series, but, 
as purely intelligible, lies out of and beyond it. And thus 
reason is satisfied, and an unconditioned placed at the head 
of the series of phenomena, without introducing confusion 
into or discontinuing it, contrary to the principles of the 

Now, from the fact that the dynamical ideas admit a con- 
dition of phenomena which does not form a part of the series 
of phenomena, arises a result which we should not have ex- 
pected from an antinomy. In former cases, the result was 
that both contradictory dialectical statements were declared 
to be false. In the present case, we find the conditioned in 
the dynamical series connected with an empirically uncondi- 
tioned, but non-sensuous condition; and thus satisfaction is 
done to the understanding on the one hand and to the reason 
on the other.' While, moreover, the dialectical arguments 

' For the understanding cannot admit among phenomena a condition which 
is itself empirically unconditioned. But if it is possible to cogitate an intdligiile 


for unconditioned totality in mere phenomena fall to the 
ground, hoih propositions of reason may be shown to be true 
in their proper signification. This could Hot happen in the 
case of the cosmological ideas which demanded a mathemat- 
ically unconditioned unity ; for no condition could be placed 
at the head of the series of phenomena, except one which 
was itself a phenomenon, and consequently a member of the 


Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the 
Deduction of Cosmical Events from their Causes 

There are only two modes of causality cogitable — the 
causality of nature or of freedom. The first is the conjunc- 
tion of a particular state with another preceding it in the 
world of sense, the former following the latter by virtue of 
a law. Now, as the causality of phenomena is subject to 
conditions of time, and the preceding state, if it had always 
existed, could not have produced an effect which would 
make its first appearance at a particular time, the causality 
of a cause must itself be an effect — must itself have begun 
to he, and therefore, according to the principle of the under- 
standing, itself requires a cause. 

We must understand, on the contrary, by the term free- 
dom, in the cosmological sense, a faculty of the spontaneous 
origination of a state; the causality of which, therefore, is 
not subordinated to another cause determining it in time. 
Freedom is in this sense a pure transcendental idea, which, 
in the first place, contains no empirical element; the object 
of which, in the second place, cannot be given or determined 
in any experience, because it is a universal law of the very 
possibility of experience, that everything which happens 
must have a cause, that consequently the causality of a 
cause, being itself something that has happened, must also 

condiUon — one which is not a member of the series of phenomena — for a con- 
ditioned phenomenon, without breal^ing the series of empirical conditionB, such 
a condition may be admissible as empirically unconditioned, and the empirical 
regress continue regular, unceasing, and intact. 


have a cause. In this view of the case, the whole field of 
experience, how far soever it may extend, contains nothing 
that is not subject to the laws of nature. But, as we cannot 
by this means attain to an absolute totality of conditions in 
reference to the series of causes and effects, reason creates 
the idea of a spontaneity, which can begin to act of itself, 
and without any external cause determining it to action, 
according to the natural law of causality. 

It is especially remarkable that the practical conception 
of freedom is based upon the transcendental idea, and that 
the question of the possibility of the former is difficult only 
as it involves the consideration of the truth of the latter. 
Freedom, in the practical sense, is the independence of the 
will of coercion by sensuous impulses. A will is sensuous, in 
so far as it is pathologically affected (by sensuous impulses); 
it is termed animal {arhitrium hrutum), when it is pathologi- 
calhj necessitated. The human will is certainly an arbitrium 
sensitivum, not hrutum, but liberum ; because sensuousness 
does not necessitate its action, a faculty existing in man of 
self-determination, independently of all sensuous coercion. 

It is plain, that, if all causality in the world of sense were 
natural — and natural only, every event would be determined 
by another according to necessary laws, and that conse- 
quently, phenomena, in so far as they determine the will, 
must necessitate every action as a natural eflEect from them- 
selves; and thus all practical freedom would fall to the 
ground with the transcendental idea. For the latter pre- 
supposes that, although a certain thing has not happened, 
it ought to have happened, and that, consequently, its phe- 
nomenal cause was not so powerful and determinative as to 
exclude the causality of our will — a causality capable of 
producing effects independently of and even in opposition 
to the power of natural causes, and capable, consequently, 
of spontaneously originating a series of events. 

Here, too, we find it to be the ease, as we generally found 
in the self-contradictions and perplexities of a reason which 
strives to pass the bounds of possible experience, that the 


problem is properly not physiological,^ but transcendental. 
The question of the possibility of freedom does indeed con- 
cern psychology; but, as it rests upon dialectical arguments 
of pure reason, its solution must engage the attention of 
transcendental philosophy. Before attempting this solu- 
tion, a task which transcendental philosophy cannot de- 
cline, it will be advisable to make a remark with regard 
to its procedure in the settlement of the question. 

If phenomena were things in themselves, and time and 
space forms of the existence of things, condition and condi- 
tioned would always be members of the same series; and 
thus would arise in the present case the antinomy common 
to all transcendental ideas — that their series is either too 
great or too small for the understanding. The dynamical 
ideas, which we are about to discuss in this and the follow- 
ing section, possess the peculiarity of relating to an object, 
not considered as a quantity, but as an existence; and thus, 
in the discussion of the present question, we may make ab- 
straction of the quantity of the series of conditions, and con- 
sider merely the dynamical relation of the condition to the 
conditioned. The question, then, suggests itself, whether 
freedom is possible; and, if it is, whether it can consist with 
the universality of the natural law of causality; and, conse- 
quently, whether we enounce a proper disjunctive proposi- 
tion when we say — every effect must have its origin either in 
nature or in freedom, or whether hoth cannot exist together 
in the same event in different relations. The principle of an 
unbroken connection between all events in the phenomenal 
world, in accordance with the unchangeable laws of nature, 
is a well-established principle of transcendental analytic 
which admits of no exception. The question, therefore, 
is: Whether an effect, determined according to the laws of 
nature, can at the same time be produced by a free agent, or 
whether freedom and nature mutually exclude each other ? 
And here, the common, but fallacious hypothesis of the ah- 

' Probably an error of the press, and that we should xeaA psychological. — Jh 


solute reality of phenomena manifests its injurious influence 
in embarrassing tlie procedure of reason. For if phenomena 
are things in themselves, freedom is impossible. In this 
case, nature is the complete and all-sufficient cause of every 
event; and condition and conditioned, cause and effect, are 
contained in the same series, and necessitated by the same 
law. If, on the contrary, phenomena are held to be, as they 
are in fact, nothing more than mere representations, con- 
nected with each other in accordance with empirical laws, 
they must have a ground which is not phenomenal. But 
the causality of such an intelligible cause is not determined 
or determinable by phenomena; although its effects, as phe- 
nomena, must be determined by other phenomenal exist- 
ences. This cause and its causality exist therefore out of 
and apart from the series of phenomena; while its effects 
do exist and are discoverable in the series of empirical con- 
ditions. Such an effect may therefore be considered to be 
free in relation to its intelligible cause, and necessary in 
relation to the phenomena from which it is a necessary con- 
sequence — a distinction which, stated in this perfectly gen- 
eral and abstract manner, must appear in the highest degree 
subtle and obscure. The sequel will explain. It is suffi- 
cient, at present, to remark that, as the complete and un- 
broken connection of phenomena is an unalterable law of 
nature, freedom is impossible — on the supposition that phe- 
nomena are absolutely real. Hence those philosophers who 
adhere to the common opinion on this subject can never 
succeed in reconciling the ideas of nature and freedom. 

Possibility of Freedom in harmony with the Universal Law 
of Natural Necessity 

That element in a sensuous object which is not itself sen- 
suous, I may be allowed to term intelligible. If, accordingly, 
an object which must be regarded as a sensuous phenome- 
non possesses a faculty which is not an object of sensuous 
intuition, but by means of which it is capable of being the 
cause of phenomena, the causality of an object or existence 


of this kind may be regarded from two different points of 
view. It may be considered to be intelligible, as regards its 
action — the action of a thing which is a thing in itself, and 
sensuous, as regards its effects — the effects of a phenomenon 
belonging to the sensuous world. We should, accordingly, 
have to form both an empirical and an intellectual concep- 
tion of the causality of such a faculty or power — both, how- 
ever, having reference to the same effect. This twofold 
manner of cogitating a power residing in a sensuous object 
does not run counter to any of the conceptions, which we 
ought to form of the world of phenomena or of a possible 
experience. Phenomena — not being things in themselves — 
must have a transcendental object as a foundation, which 
determines them as mere representations; and there seems 
to be no reason why we should not ascribe to this transcen- 
dental object, in addition to the property of self-phenome- 
nization, a causality whose effects are to be met with in the 
world of phenomena, although it is not itself a phenomenon. 
But every effective cause must possess a character, that is to 
say, a law of its causality, without which it would cease to 
be a cause. In the above case, then, every sensuous object 
would possess an empirical character, which guaranteed that 
its actions, as phenomena, stand in complete and harmonious 
connection, conformably to unvarying natural laws, with all 
other phenomena, and can be deduced from these, as condi- 
tions, and that they do thus, in connection with these, con- 
stitute a series in the order of nature. This sensuous object 
must, in the second place, possess an intelligible character, 
which guarantees it to be the cause of those actions, as phe- 
nomena, although it is not itself a phenomenon nor subordi- 
nate to the conditions of the world of sense. The former 
may be termed the character of the thing as a phenomenon, 
the latter the character of the thing as a thing in itself. 

Now this active subject would, in its character of intelli- 
gible subject, be subordinate to no conditions of time, for 
time is only a condition of phenomena, and not of things 
in themselves. No action would begin or cease to be in this 

SI— Science— 18 


subject; it would consequently be free from the law of all 
determination of time — the law of change, namely, that 
everything which happens must have a cause ia the phe- 
nomena of a preceding state. In one word, the causality of 
the subject, in so far as it is intelligible, would not form 
part of the series of empirical conditions which determine 
and necessitate an event in the world of sense. Again, this 
intelligible character of a thing cannot be immediately 
cognized, because we can perceive nothing but phenomena, 
but it mast be capable of being cogitated in harmony with 
the empirical character; for we always find ourselves com- 
pelled to place, in thought, a transcendental object at the 
basis of phenomena, although we can never know what this 
object is in itself. 

In virtue of its empirical character, this subject would at 
the same time be subordinate to all the empirical laws of 
causality, and, as a phenomenon and member of the sensu- 
ous world, its effects would have to be accounted for by a 
reference to preceding phenomena. External phenomena 
must be capable of influencing it; and its actions, in accord- 
ance with natural laws, must explain to us how its empirical 
character, that is, the law of its causality, is to be cognized 
in and by means of experience. In a word, all requisites 
for a complete and necessary determination of these actions 
must be presented to us by experience. 

In virtue of its intelligible character, on the other hand 
(although we possess only a general conception of this char- 
acter), the subject must be regarded as free from all sensuous 
influences, and from all phenomenal determination. More- 
over, as nothing happens in this subject — for it is a noume- 
non, and there does not consequently exist in it any change, 
demanding the dynamical determination of time, and for the 
same reason no connection with phenomena as causes — this 
active existence must in its actions be free from and inde- 
pendent of natural necessity, for this necessity exists only in 
the world of phenomena. It would be quite correct to say, 
that it originates or begins its eflEeots in the world of sense 


from itself, altliougli the action productive of these effects 
doeS' not Begin in itself. "We should not be in this case 
affirming that these sensuous effects began to exist of them- 
selves, because they are always determined by prior empiri- 
cal conditions — by virtue of the empirical character, which 
is the phenomenon of the intelligible character — and are 
possible only as constituting a continuation of the series of 
natural causes. And thus nature and freedom, each in the 
complete and absolute signification of these terms, can exist, 
without contradiction or disagreement, in the same action. 

Exposition of the Cosmohgical Id^a of Freedom in harmony 
with the Universal Law of Natural Necessity 

I have thought it advisable to lay before the reader at 
first merely a sketch of the solution of this transcendental 
problem, in order to enable him to form with greater ease 
a clear conception of the course which reason must adopt 
in the solution. I shall now proceed to exhibit the several 
momenta of this solution, and to consider them in their order. 

The natural law, that everything which happens must 
have a cause, that the causality of this cause, that is, the 
action of the cause (which cannot always have existed, but 
must be itself an event, for it precedes in time some effect 
which it has originated), must have itself a phenomenal 
cause, by which it is determined, and, consequently, that 
all events are empirically determined in an order of nature — • 
this law, I say, which lies at the foundation of the possibility 
of experience, and of a connected system of phenomena or 
nature, is a law of the understanding, from which no depart- 
ure, and to which no exception, can be admitted. For to 
except even a single phenomenon from its operation, is 
to exclude it from the sphere of possible experience, and 
tiius to admit it to be a mere fiction of thought or phantom 
of the brain. 

Thus we are obliged to acknowledjge the existence of a 
chain of causes, in which, however, absolute totality cannot 
Be found. But we need not detain ourselves with this ques- 


tion, for it has already been sufficiently answered in our 
discussion of the antinomies into which reason falls, when it 
attempts to reach the unconditioned in the series of phe- 
nomena. If we permit ourselves to be deceived by the illu- 
sion of transcendental idealism, we shall find that neither 
nature nor freedom exists. ISTow the question is: Whether, 
admitting the existence of natural necessity in the world of 
phenomena, it is possible to consider an effect as at the 
same time an effect of nature and an effect of freedom — or, 
whether these two modes of causality are contradictory 
and incompatible ? 

No phenomenal cause can absolutely and of itself begin 
a series. Every action, in so far as it is productive of an 
event, is itself an event or occurrence, and presupposes 
another preceding state, in which its cause existed. Thus 
everything that happens is but a continuation of a series, 
and an absolute beginning is impossible in the sensuous 
world. The actions of natural causes are, accordingly, them- 
selves effects, and presuppose causes preceding them in 
time. A primal action — an action which forms an absolute 
beginning, is beyond the causal power of phenomena. 

Now, is it absolutely necessary that, granting that all 
effects are phenomena, the causality of the cause of these 
effects must also be a phenomenon, and belong to the em- 
pirical world ? Is it not rather possible that, although every 
effect in the phenomenal world must be connected with an 
empirical cause, according to the universal law of nature, 
this empirical causality may be itself the effect of a non- 
empirical and intelligible causality — its connection with 
natural causes remaining nevertheless intact? Such a 
causality would be considered, in reference to phenomena, 
as the primal action of a cause, which is in so far, therefore, 
not phenomenal, but, by reason of this faculty or power, 
intelligible; although it must, at the same time, as a link in 
the chain of nature, be regarded as belonging to the sensu- 
ous world. 

A belief in the reciprocal causality of phenomena is 


necessary, if we are required to look for and to present the 
natural conditions of natural events, that is to say, their 
causes. This being admitted as unexceptionally valid, the 
requirements of the understanding, which recognizes nothing 
but nature in the region of phenomena, are satisfied, and 
our physical explanations of physical phenomena may pro- 
ceed in their regular course, without hindrance and without 
opposition. But it is no stumbling-block in the way, even 
assuming the idea to be a pure fiction, to admit that there 
are some natural causes in the possession of a faculty which 
is not empirical, but intelligible, inasmuch as it is not de- 
termined to action by empirical conditions, but purely and 
solely upon grounds brought forward by the understanding 
— this action being still, when the cause is phenomenized, 
in perfect accordance with the laws of empirical causality. 
Thus the acting subject, as a causal phenomenon, would con- 
tinue to preserve a complete connection with nature and 
natural conditions; and the phenomenon only of the subject 
(with all its phenomenal causality) would contain certain 
conditions, which, if we ascend from the empirical to the 
transcendental object, must necessarily be regarded as intel- 
ligible. For, if we attend, in our inquiries with regard to 
causes in the world of phenomena, to the directions of 
nature alone, we need not trouble ourselves about the rela- 
tion in which the transcendental subject, which is completely 
unknown to us, stands to these phenomena and their con- 
nection in nature. The intelligible ground of phenomena in 
this subject does not concern empirical questions. It has to 
do only with pure thought; and, although the effects of this 
thought and action of the pure understanding are discovera- 
ble in phenomena, these phenomena must nevertheless be ca- 
pable of a full and complete explanation upon purely physical 
grounds, and in accordance with natural laws. And in this 
case we attend solely to their empirical, and omit all consider- 
ation of their intelligible character (which is the transcenden- 
tal cause of the former), as completely unknown, except in 
so far as it is exhibited by the latter as its empirical symbol. 


Now let us apply this to experience. Man is a phenomenon 
of the sensuous world, and at the same time, therefore, a 
natural cause, the causality of which must be regulated by 
empirical laws. As such, he must possess an empirical 
character, like all other natural phenomena. We remark 
this empirical character in his actions, which reveal the 
presence of certain powers and faculties. If we consider 
inanimate, or merely animal nature, we can discover no 
reason for ascribing to ourselves any other than a faculty 
which is determined in a purely sensuous manner. But 
man, to whom nature reveals herself only through sense, 
cognizes himself not only by his senses, but also tbrough 
pure apperception; and this in actions and internal determi- 
nations, which he cannot regard as sensuous impressions. 
He is thus to himself, on the one hand, a phenomenon, but, 
on the other hand, in respect of certain faculties, a purely 
intelligible object — intelligible, because its action cannot be 
ascribed to sensuous receptivity. These faculties are under- 
standing and reason. The latter, especially, is in a peculiar 
manner distinct from all empirically-conditioned faculties, 
for it employs ideas alone in the consideration of its objects, 
and by means of these determines the understanding, which 
then proceeds to make an empirical use of its own concep- 
tions, which, like the ideas of reason, are pure and non- 

That reason possesses the faculty of causality, or that at 
least we are compelled so to represent it, is evident from the 
imperatives, which in the sphere of the practical we impose 
on many of our executive powers. The words / ought ex- 
press a species of necessity, and imply a connection with 
grounds which nature does not and cannot present to the 
mind of man. Understanding knows nothing in nature but 
that which is, or has been, or will be. It would be absurd 
to say that anything in nature ought to be other than it is in 
the relations of time in which it stands; indeed, the ought, 
when we consider merely the course of nature, has neither 
application nor meaning. The question, what ought to hap- 


pen in the sphere of nature, is just as absurd as the question, 
what ought to be the properties of a circle ? All that we are 
entitled to ask is, what takes place in nature, or, in the latter 
case, what are the properties of a circle ? 

But the idea of an ought or of duty indicates a possible 
action, the ground of which is a pure conception ; while the 
ground of a merely natural action is, on the contrary, always 
a phenomenon. This action must certainly be possible under 
physical conditions, if it is prescribed by the moral impera- 
tive ought; but these physical or natural conditions do not 
concern the determination of the will itself, they relate to 
its effect alone, and the consequences of the effect in the 
world of phenomena. "Whatever number of motives nature 
may present to my will, whatever sensuous impulses — the 
moral ought it is beyond their power to produce. They may 
produce a volition, which, so far from being necessary, is 
always conditioned — a volition to which the ought enunciated 
by reason sets an aim and a standard, gives permission or 
prohibition. Be the object what it may, purely sensuous — 
as pleasure, or presented by pure reason — as good, reason 
will not yield to grounds which have an empirical origin. 
Eeason will not follow the order of things presented by 
experience, but, with perfect spontaneity, rearranges them 
according to ideas, with which it compels empirical condi- 
tions to agree. It declares, in the name of these ideas, 
certain actions to be necessary which nevertheless have not 
taken place, and which perhaps never will take place; and 
yet presupposes that it possesses the faculty of causality in 
relation to these actions. For, in the absence of this suppo 
sition, it could not expect its ideas to produce certain effects 
in the world of experience. 

Now, let us stop here, and admit it to be at least possible, 
that reason does stand in a really causal relation to phenom- 
ena. In this case it must — pure reason as it is — exhibit 
an empirical character. For every cause supposes a rule, 
according to which certain phenomena follow as effects from 
the cause, and every rule requires uniformity in these 


effects ; and tliis is tlie proper ground of the conception of 
a cause — as a faculty or power. Now this conception (of a 
cause) niay be termed the empirical character of reason ; and 
this character is a permanent one, while the effects produced 
appear, in conformity with the various conditions which ac- 
company and partly limit them, in various forms. 

Thus the volition of every man has an empirical char- 
acter, which is nothing more than the causality of his reason, 
in so far as its effects in the phenomenal world manifest the 
presence of a rule, according to which we are enabled to 
examine, in their several kinds and degrees, the actions of 
this causality and the rational grounds for these actions, and 
in this way to decide upon the subjective principles of the 
volition. Now we learn what this empirical character is 
only from phenomenal effects, and from the rule of these 
which is presented by experience; and for this reason all 
the actions of man in the world of phenomena are deter- 
mined by his empirical character, and the co-operative 
causes of nature. If, then, we could investigate all the 
phenomena of human volition to their lowest foundation 
in the mind, there would be no action which we could not 
anticipate with certainty, and recognize to be absolutely 
necessary from its preceding conditions. So far as relates to 
this empirical character, therefore, there can be no freedom; 
and it is only in the light of this character that we can con- 
eider the human will, when we confine ourselves to simple 
observation, and, as is the case in anthropology, institute a 
physiological investigation of the motive causes of human 

But when we consider the same actions in relation to 
reason — not for the purpose of explaining their origin, that 
is, in relation to speculative reason — but to practical reason, 
as the producing cause of these actions, we shall discover a 
rule and an order very different from those of nature and 
experience. For the declaration of this mental faculty may 
be, that what has and could not but tahe place in the course 
of nature, ought not to have taken place. Sometimes, too, 


we discover, or believe tHat we discover, that the ideas of 
reason did actually stand in a causal relation to certain 
actions of man; and that these actions have taken place 
because they were determined, not by empirical causes, but 
by the act of the will upon grounds of reason. 

Now, granting that reason stands in a causal relation to 
phenomena; can an action of reason be called free, when we 
know that, sensuously — in its empirical character, it is com- 
pletely determined and absolutely necessary ? But this 
empirical character is itself determined by the intelligible 
character. The latter we cannot cognize ; we can only indi- 
cate it by means of phenomena, which enable us to have an 
immediate cognition only of the empirical character.' An 
action, then, in so far as it is to be ascribed to an intelligible 
cause, does not result from it in accordance with empirical 
laws. That is to say, not the conditions of pure reason, but 
only their effects in the internal sense, precede the act. Pure 
reason, as a purely intelligible faculty, is not subject to 
the conditions of time. The causality of reason in its intel- 
ligible character does not begin to be; it does not make its 
appearance at a certain time, for the purpose of producing 
an effect. If this were not the case, the causality of reason 
would be subservient to the natural law of phenomena, 
which determines them according to time, and as a series 
of causes and effects in time; it would consequently cease to 
be freedom, and become a part of nature. We are therefore 
justified in saying — If reason stands in a causal relation to 
phenomena, it is a faculty which originates the sensuous 
condition of an empirical series of effects. For the condi- 
tion, which resides in the reason, is non -sensuous, and there- 
fore cannot be originated, or begin to be. And thus we 
find — what we could not discover in any empirical series — 

■ The real morality of actions — their merit or demerit, and even that of our 
own conduct, is completely unknown to us. Our estimates can relate only to 
their empirical character. How much is the result of the action of free-will, 
how much is to be ascribed to nature and to blameless error, or to a happy 
constitution of temperament (merito forttmce), no one can discover, nor, for this 
reason, determine with perfect justice. 


a condition of a successive series of events itself empirically 
tineoiaditioned. For, in the present case, the condition 
stands out of and beyond the series of phenomena — it is 
intelligible, and it consequently cannot be subject to any 
sensuous condition, or to any time- determination by a 
preceding cause. 

But, in another respect, the same cause belongs also to 
the series of phenomena. Man is himself a phenomenon. 
His will has an empirical character, which is the empirical 
cause of all his actions. There is no condition — determining 
man and his volition in conformity with this character — 
which does not itself form part of the series of effects in 
nature, and is subject to their law — the law according to 
which an empirically undetermined cause of an event in time 
cannot exist. For this reason no given action can have an 
absolute and spontaneous origination, all actions being phe- 
nomena, and belonging to the world of experience. But it 
cannot be said of reason, that the state in which it determines 
the will is always preceded by some other state determining 
it. For reason is not a phenomenon, and therefore not sub- 
ject to sensuous conditions; and, consequently, even in rela- 
tion to its causality, the sequence or conditions of time do 
not influence reason, nor can the dynamical law of nature, 
which determines the sequence of time according to certain 
rules, be applied to it. 

Eeason is consequently the permanent condition of all 
actions of the human will. Each of these is determined in 
the empirical character of the man, even before it has taken 
place. The intelligible character, of which the former is 
but the sensuous schema, knows no before or aftej- ; and every 
action, irrespective of the time-relation in which it stands 
with other phenomena, is the immediate effect of the intelli- 
gible character of pure reason, which, consequently, enjoys 
freedom of action, and is not dynamically determined either 
by internal or external preceding conditions. This freedom 
must not be described, in a merely negative manner, as 
independence of empirical conditions, for in this case the 


faculty of reason would cease to be a cause of phenomena; 
but it must be regarded, positively, as a faculty which can 
spontaneously originate a series of events. At the same 
time, it must not be supposed that any beginning can take 
place in reason; on the contrary, reason, as the uncondi- 
tioned condition of all action of the will, admits of no time- 
conditions, although its effect does really begin in a series 
of phenomena — a beginning which is not, however, abso- 
lutely primal. 

I shall illustrate this regulative principle of reason by an 
example, from its employment in the world of experience; 
proved it cannot be by any amount of experience, or by any 
number of facts, for such arguments cannot establish the 
truth of transcendental propositions. Let us take a volun- 
tary action — for example, a falsehood — by means of which, 
a man has introduced a certain degree of confusion into 
the social life of humanity, which is judged according to the 
motives from which it originated, and the blame of which, 
and of the evil consequences arising from it, is imputed to 
the offender. We at first proceed to examine the empirical 
character of the offence, and for this purpose we endeavor to 
penetrate to the sources of that character, such as a defective 
education, bad company, a shameless and wicked disposition, 
frivolity, and want of reflection — not forgetting also the 
occasioning causes which prevailed at the moment of the 
transgression. In this the procedure is exactly the same 
as that pursued in the investigation of the series of causes 
which determine a given physical effect. Now, although 
we believe the action to have been determined by all these 
circumstances, we do not the less blame the offender. We 
do not blame him for his unhappy disposition, nor for the 
circumstances which influenced him, nay, not even for his 
former course of life; for we presuppose that all these con- 
siderations may be set aside, that the series of preceding 
conditions may be regarded as having never existed, and 
that the action may be considered as completely uncondi- 
tioned in relation to any state preceding, just as if the agent 


commenced witt it an entirely new series of effects. Our 
blame of the offender is grounded upon a law of reason, 
whicli requires us to regard this faculty as a cause, which 
could have and ought to have otherwise determined the 
behavior of the culprit, independently of all empirical con- 
ditions. This causality of reason we do not regard as a co- 
operating agency, but as complete in itself. It matters not 
whether the sensuous impulses favored or opposed the action 
of this causality, the offence is estimated according to its intel- 
ligible character — the offender is decidedly worthy of blame, 
the moment he utters a falsehood. It follows that we regard 
reason, in spite of the empirical conditions of the act, as com- 
pletely free, and therefore, as in the present case, culpable. 
The above judgment is complete evidence that we are 
accustomed to think that reason is not affected by sensuous 
conditions, that in it no change takes place — although its 
phenomena, in other words, the mode in which it appears 
in its effects, are subject to change — that in it no preceding 
state determines the following, and, consequently, that it 
does not form a member of the series of sensuous conditions 
which necessitate phenomena according to natural laws. 
Eeason is present and the same in all human actions, and at 
all times ; but it does not itself exist in time, and therefore 
does not enter upon any state in which it did not formerly 
exist. It is, relatively to new states or conditions, determin- 
ing, but not determinable. Hence we cannot ask: Why did 
not reason determine itself in a different manner ? The 
question ought to be thus stated : Why did not reason em- 
ploy its power of causality to determine certain phenomena 
in a different manner ? But this is a question which admits 
of no answer. For a different intelligible character would 
have exhibited a different empirical character; and, when 
we say that, in spite of the course which his whole former 
life has taken, the offender could have refrained from utter- 
ing the falsehood, this means merely that the act was sub- 
ject to the power and authority — permissive or prohibitive— 
of reason. -Now, reason is not subject in its causality to any 


conditions of phenomena or of time; and a difference in time 
may produce a difference in the relation of phenomena to each 
other— for these are not things, and therefore not causes in 
themselves — but it cannot produce any difference in the rela- 
tion in which the action stands to the faculty of reason. 

Thus, then, in our investigation into free actions and the 
causal power which produced them, we arrive at an intelli- 
gible cause, beyond which, however, we cannot go; although 
we can recognize that it is free, that is, independent of all 
sensuous conditions, and that, in this way, it may be the 
sensuously unconditioned condition of phenomena. But for 
what reason the intelligible character generates such and 
such phenomena, and exhibits such and such an empirical 
character under certain circumstances, it is beyond the 
power of our reason to decide. The question is as much 
above the power and the sphere of reason as the following 
would be: Why does the transcendental object of our ex- 
ternal sensuous intuition allow of no other form than that of 
intuition in space f But the problem, which we were called 
upon to solve, does not require us to entertain any such 
questions. The problem was merely this — whether freedom 
and natural necessity can exist without opposition in the 
same action. To this question we have given a sufficient 
answer; for we have shown that, as the former stands in a 
relation to a different kind of conditions from those of the 
latter, the law of the one does not affect the law of the other, 
and that, consequently, both can exist together in indepen- 
dence of and without interference with each other. 

The reader must be careful to remark that my intention 
in the above remarks has not been to prove the actual exist- 
ence of freedom, as a faculty in which resides the cause of 
certain sensuous phenomena. For, not to mention that such 
an argument would not have a transcendental character, nor 
have been limited to the discussion of pure conceptions — all 
attempts at inferring from experience what cannot be cogi- 
tated in accordance with its laws, must ever be unsuccess- 


ful. Nay, more, I have not even aimed at demonstrating 
the possibility of freedom; for this too would have been a 
vain endeavor, inasmuch as it is beyond the power of the 
mind to cognize the possibility of a reality or of a causal 
power, by the aid of mere a priori conceptions. Freedom 
has been considered in the foregoing remarks only as a 
transcendental idea, by means of which reason aims at origi- 
nating a series of conditions in the world of phenomena with 
the help of that which is sensuously unconditioned, involv- 
ing itself, however, in an antinomy with the laws which 
itself prescribes for the conduct of the understanding. That 
this antinomy is based upon a mere illusion, and that nature 
and freedom are at least not opposed — this was the only thing 
in our power to prove, and the question which it was our 
task to solve. 


/Solution of the Cosmological Idea of the Totality of the De- 
pendence of Phenomenal Existences 

In the preceding remarks, we considered the changes 
in the world of sense as constituting a dynamical series, in 
which each member is subordinated to another — as its cause. 
Our present purpose is to avail ourselves of this series of 
states or conditions as a guide to an existence which may 
be the highest condition of all changeable phenomena, that 
is, to a necessary being. Oar endeavor is to reach, not the 
unconditioned causality, but the unconditioned existence, 
of substance. The series before us is therefore a series of 
conceptions, and not of intuitions (in which the one intui- 
tion is the condition of the other). 

But it is evident that, as all phenomena are subject to 
change, and conditioned in their existence, the series of 
dependent existences cannot embrace an unconditioned 
member, the existence of which would be absolutely 
necessary. It follows that, if phenomena were things in 
themselves, and — as an immediate consequence from this 
supposition — condition and conditioned belonged to the 


same series of phenomena, tlie existence of a necessary 
being, as tlie condition of the existence of sensuous phe- 
nomena, -would be perfectly impossible. 

An important distinction, however, exists between the 
dynamical and the mathematical regress. The latter is en- 
gaged solely with the combination of parts into a whole, 
or with the division of a whole into its parts; and therefore 
are the conditions of its series parts of the series, and to be 
consequently regarded as homogeneous, and for this reason, 
as consisting, without exception, of phenomena. In the 
former regress, on the contrary, the aim of which is not to 
establish the possibility of an unconditioned whole consist- 
ing of given parts, or of an unconditioned part of a given 
whole, but to demonstrate the possibility of the deduction of 
a certain state from its cause, or of the contingent existence 
of substance from that which exists necessarily, it is not 
requisite that the condition should form part of an empirical 
series along with the conditioned. 

In the case of the apparent antinomy with which we are 
at present dealing, there exists a way of escape from the 
difficulty; for it is not impossible that both of the contra- 
dictory statements may be true in difierent relations. All 
sensuous phenomena may be contingent, and consequently 
possess only an empirically conditioned existence, and yet 
there may also exist a non-empirical condition of the whole 
series, or, in other words, a necessary being. For this nec- 
essary being, as an intelligible condition, would not form a 
member — not even the highest member — of the series; the 
whole world of sense would be left in its empirically deter- 
mined existence uninterfered with and uninfluenced. This 
would also form a ground of distinction between the modes 
of solution employed for the third and fourth antinomies. 
For, while in the consideration of freedom in the former an- 
tinomy, the thing itself, the cause {substantia phenomenon), 
was regarded as belonging to the series of conditions, and 
only its causality to the intelligible world — we are obliged in 
the present case to cogitate this necessary being as purely intel- 


ligible and as existing entirely apart from the world of sense 
(as an ens extramundanum) ; for otherwise it would be sub- 
ject to the phenomenal law of contingency and dependence. 

In relation to the present problem, therefore, the regu- 
lative principle of reason is that everything in the sensuous 
world possesses an empirically conditioned existence — that 
no property of the sensuous world possesses unconditioned 
necessity — that we are bound to expect, and, so far as is pos- 
sible, to seek for the empirical condition of every member in 
the series of conditions — and that there is no sufficient rea- 
son to justify us in deducing any existence from a condition 
which lies out of and beyond the empirical geries, or in re- 
garding any existence as independent and self-subsistent; 
although this should not prevent us from recognizing the 
possibility of the whole series being based upon a being 
which is intelligible, and for this reason free from all 
empirical conditions. 

But it has been far from my intention, in these remarks, 
to prove the existence of this unconditioned and necessary 
being, or even to evidence the possibility of a purely intelli- 
gible condition of the existence of all sensuous phenomena. 
As bounds were set to reason, to prevent it from leaving the 
guiding thread of empirical conditions, and losing itself in 
transcendent theories which are incapable of concrete presen- 
tation; so, it was my purpose, on the other hand, to set 
bounds to the law of the purely empirical understanding, 
and to protest against any attempts on its part at deciding 
on the possibility of things, or declaring the existence of the 
intelligible to be impossible, merely on the ground that it 
is not available for the explanation and exposition of phe- 
nomena. It has been shown, at the same time, that the 
contingency of all the phenomena of nature and their em- 
pirical conditions is quite consistent with the arbitrary 
hypothesis of a necessary, although purely intelligible con- 
dition, that no real contradiction exists between them, and 
that, consequently, both may be true. The existence of such 
an absolutely necessary being may be impossible; but this 


can never be demonstrated from the universal contingency 
and dependence of sensuous phenomena, nor from the prin- 
ciple which forbids us to discontinue the series at some 
member of it, or to seek for its cause in some sphere of 
existence beyond the world of nature. Eeason goes its 
way in the empirical world, and follows, too, its peculiar 
path in the sphere of the transcendental. 

The sensuous world contains nothing but phenomena, 
which are mere representations, and always sensuously con- 
ditioned; things in themselves are not, and cannot be, ob- 
jects to us. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that we 
are not justified in leaping from some member of an empir- 
ical series beyond the world of sense, as if empirical repre- 
sentations were things in themselves, existing apart from 
their transcendental ground in the human mind, and the 
cause of whose existence may be sought out of the empiri- 
cal series. This would certainly be the case with contin- 
gent things ; but it cannot be with mere representations of 
things, the contingency of which is itself merely a phenom- 
enon, and can relate tp no other regress than that which de- 
termines phenomena, that is, the empirical. But to cogitate 
an intelligible ground of phenomena, as free, moreover, from 
the contingency of the latter, conflicts neither with the un- 
limited nature of the empirical regress, nor with the com- 
plete contingency of phenomena. And the demonstration 
of this was the only thing necessary for the solution of this 
apparent antinomy. For if the condition of every condi- 
tioned — as regards its existence — is sensuous, and for this 
reason a part of the same series, it must be itself condi- 
tioned, as was shown in the Antithesis of the fourth Anti- 
nomy. The embarrassments into which a reason, which 
postulates the unconditioned, necessarily falls, must, there- 
fore, continue to exist; or the unconditioned must be placed 
in the sphere of the intelligible. In this way, its necessity 
does not require, nor does it even permit, the presence of an 
empirical condition: and it is, consequently, unconditionally 


The empirical employment of reason is not affected by 
the assumption of a purely intelligible being; it continues 
its operations on the principle of the contingency of all phe- 
nomena, proceeding from empirical conditions to still higher 
and higher conditions, themselves empirical. Just as little 
does this regulative principle exclude the assumption of an 
intelligible cause, when the question regards merely the pure 
employment of reason — in relation to ends or aims. For, in 
this case, an intelligible cause signifies merely the transcen- 
dental and to us unknown ground of the possibility of sensu- 
ous phenomena, and its existence necessary and independent 
of all sensuous conditions, is not inconsistent with the con- 
tingency of phenomena, or with the unlimited possibility 
of regress which exists in the series of empirical conditions. 

Concluding Remarks on the Antinomy of Pure Reason 

So long as the object of our rational conceptions is the 
totality of conditions in the world of phenomena, and the 
satisfaction, from this source, of the requirements of reason, 
so long are our ideas transcendental and cosmological. But 
when we set the unconditioned — which is the aim of all our 
inquiries — in a sphere which lies out of the world of sense 
and possible experience, our ideas become transcendent. 
They are then not merely serviceable toward the comple- 
tion o£ the exercise of reason (which remains an idea, never 
executed, but always to be pursued); they detach them- 
selves completely from experience, and construct for them- 
selves objects, the material of which has not been presented 
by experience, and the objective reality of which is not based 
upon the completion of the empirical series, but upon pure a 
priori conceptions. The intelligible object of these transcen- 
dent ideas may be conceded, as a transcendental object. But 
we cannot cogitate it as a thing determinable by certain dis- 
tinct predicates relating to its internal nature, for it has no 
connection with empirical conceptions ; nor are we justified 
in affirming the existence of any such object. It is conse- 
quently, a mere product of the mind alone. Of all the cos- 


mological ideas, however, it is that ocoasioning the fourth 
antinomy which compels us to venture upon this step. For 
the existence of phenomena, always conditioned and never 
self-subsistent, requires us to look for an object difEerent 
from phenomena — an intelligible object, with which all con- 
tingency must cease. But, as we have allowed ourselves to 
assume the existence of a self-subsistent reality out of the field 
of experience, and are therefore obliged to regard phenom- 
ena as merely a contingent mode of representing intelligible 
objects employed by beings which are themselves intelli- 
gences — no other course remains for us than to follow anal- 
ogy, and employ the same mode in forming some conception 
of intelligible things, of which we have not the least knowl- 
edge, which nature taught us to use in the formation of em- 
pirical conceptions. Experience made us acquainted with 
the contingent. But we are at present engaged in the dis- 
cussion of things which are not objects of experience; and 
must, therefore, deduce our knowledge of them from that 
which is necessary absolutely and in itself, that is from pure 
conceptions. Hence the first step which we take out of the 
world of sense obliges us to begin our system of new cogni- 
tion with the investigation of a necessary being, and to de- 
duce, from our conceptions of it, all our conceptions of intel- 
ligible things. This we propose to attempt in the following 


the ideal of pure reason 

Section First 
Of the Ideal in OeneraC 
We have seen that pure conceptions do not present objects 
to the mind, except under sensuous conditions; because the 
conditions of objective reality do not exist in these concep- 
tions, which contain, in fact, nothing but the mere form of 


thouglit. They may, however, when applied to phenomena, 
be presented in concreto ; for it is phenomena that present to 
them the materials for the formation of empirical concep- 
tions, which are nothing more than concrete forms of the 
conceptions of the understanding. But ideas are still further 
removed from objective reality than categories ; for no phe- 
nomenon can ever present them to the human mind in con- 
creto. They contain a certain perfection, attainable by no 
possible empirical cognition; and they give to reason a sys- 
tematic unity, to which the unity of experience attempts 
to approximate, but can never completely attain. 

But still further removed than the idea from objective 
reality is the Ideal, by which term I understand the idea, 
not in concreto, but in individuo — as an individual thing, 
determinable or determined by the idea alone. The idea 
of humanity in its complete perfection supposes not only 
the advancement of all the powers and faculties, which con- 
stitute our conception of human nature, to a complete attain- 
ment of their final aims, but also everything which is requi- 
site for the complete determination of the idea; for of all 
contradictory predicates, only one can conform with the idea 
of the perfect man. What I have termed an ideal, was in 
Plato's philosophy an idea of the divine mind — an individual 
object present to its pure intuition, the most perfect of every 
kind of possible beings, and the archetype of all phenomenal 

Without rising to these speculative heights, we are bound 
to confess that human reason contains not only ideas, but 
ideals, which possess, not, like those of Plato, creative, but 
certainly praciicaZ power — as regulative principles, and form 
the basis of the perfectibility of certain actions. Moral con- 
ceptions are not perfectly pure conceptions of reason, be- 
cause an empirical element — of pleasure or pain — lies at the 
foundation of them. In relation, however, to the principle, 
whereby reason sets bounds to a freedom which is in itself 
without law, and consequently when we attend merely to 
their form, they may be considered as pure conceptions 


of reason. Virtue and wisdom in their perfect purity are 
ideas. But the wise man of the Stoics is an ideal, that is 
to say, a human being existing only in thought, and in com- 
plete conformity with the idea of wisdom. As the idea pro- 
vides a rule, so the ideal serves as an archetype for the perfect 
and complete determination of the copy. Thus the conduct 
of the wise and divine man serves us as a standard of action, 
with which we may compare and judge ourselves, which may 
help us to reform ourselves, although the perfection it de- 
mands can never be attained by us. Although we cannot 
concede objective reality to these ideals, they are not to be 
considered as chimeras; on the contrary, they provide rea- 
son with a standard, which enables it to estimate, by com- 
parison, the degree of incompleteness in the objects pre- 
sented to it. But to aim at realizing the ideal in an example 
in the world of experience — to describe, for instance, the 
character of the perfectly wise man in a romance, is imprac- 
ticable. Nay more, there is something absurd in the at- 
tempt; and the result must be little edifying, as the natural 
limitations which are continually breaking in upon the per- 
fection and completeness of the idea destroy the illusion in 
the story, and throw an air of suspicion even on what is 
good in the idea, which hence appears fictitious and 

Such is the constitution of the ideal of reason, which 
is always based upon determinate conceptions, and serves 
as a rule. and a model for imitation or for criticism. Very 
different is the nature of the ideals of the imagination. Of 
these it is impossible to present an intelligible conception; 
they are a kind of monogram, drawn according to no deter- 
minate rule, and forming rather a vague picture — the pro- 
duction of many diverse experiences — than a determinate 
image. Sach are the ideals which painters and physiog- 
nomists profess to have in their minds, and which can serve 
neither as a model for production nor as a standard for ap- 
preciation. They may be termed, though improperly, sen- 
suous ideals, as they are declared to be models of certain 


possible empirical intuitions. They cannot, however, fur- 
nish rules or standards for explanation or examination. 

In its ideals, reason aims at complete and perfect deter- 
mination according to a priori rules ; and hence it cogitates 
an object, which must be completely determinable in con- 
formity with principles, although all empirical conditions are 
absent, and the conception of the object is on this account 


Section Second 

Of the Transcendental Ideal 

(Prototypon TranscendentaU) 

Every conception is, in relation to that which is not con- 
tained in it, undetermined and subject to the principle of 
deter minability. This principle is, that of every two contra- 
dictorily opposed predicates, only one can belong to a con- 
ception. It is a purely logical principle, itself based upon 
the principle of contradiction; inasmuch as it makes com- 
plete abstraction of the content, and attends merely to the 
logical form of the cognition. 

But again, everything, as regards its possibility, is also 
subject to the principle' of complete determination, accord- 
ing to which one of all the possible contradictory predicates of 
things must belong to it. This principle is not based merely 
upon that of contradiction; for, in addition to the relation 
between two contradictory predicates, it regards everything 
as standing in a relation to the sum of possibilities^ as the 
sum-total of all predicates of things, and, while presuppos- 
ing this sum as an a priori condition, presents to the mind 
everything as receiving the possibility of its individual ex- 
istence from the relation it bears to, and the share it pos- 
sesses in, the aforesaid sum of possibilities." The principle 

' Principium determinationis omnimodm. — 7ir. 

' Thus this principle declares everything to poasess a relation to a common 
correlate — the sum-total of possibility, which, if discovered to exist in the idea 
of one individual thing, would establish the affinity of all possible things, from 


of complete determination relates therefore to the content 
and not to the logical form. It is the principle of the syn- 
thesis of all the predicates which are required to constitute 
the complete conception of a thing, and not a mere principle 
of analytical representation, which announces that one of 
two contradictory predicates must belong to a conception 
It contains, moreover, a transcendental presupposition — that, 
namely, of the material for all possibility, which must con 
tain a priori the data for this or that particular possibility. 

The proposition, everything which exists is completely deter 
mined, means not only that one of every pair of given contra 
dictory attributes, but that one of all possible attributes, is 
always predicable of the thing; in it the predicates are not 
merely compared logically with each other, but the thing 
itself is transcendentally compared with the sum-total of all 
possible predicates. The proposition is equivalent to saying: 
— to attain to a complete knowledge of a thing, it is necessary 
to possess a knowledge of everything that is possible, and to 
determine it thereby, in a positive or negative manner. The 
conception of complete determination is consequently a con- 
ception which cannot be presented in its totality in concreto, 
and is therefore based upon an idea, which has its seat in 
the reason — the faculty which prescribes to the understand- 
ing the laws of its harmonious and perfect exercise. 

Now, although this idea of the sum-total of all possibility, 
in so far as it forms the condition of the complete determina- 
tion of everything, is itself undetermined in relation to the 
predicates which may constitute this sum-total, and we cogi- 
tate in it merely the sum-total of all possible predicates — we 
nevertheless find, upon closer examination, that this idea, as 
a primitive conception of the mind, excludes a large number 
of predicates — those deduced and those irreconcilable with 
others, and that it is evolved as a conception completely de- 

the identity of the ground of their complete determination. The determmability 
of every conception is subordinate to the universality (AUgemeinheit universdlitaa) 
of the principle of excluded middle ; the determination of a thing to the totalHy 
(AUheit. miiversitas) of all possible predicates. 


tennined a priori. Thus it becomes the conception of an 
individual object, wMcli is completely determined by and 
through the mere idea, and must consequently be termed 
an ideal of pure reason. 

When we consider all possible predicates, not merely 
logically, but transcendentally, that is to say, with refer- 
ence to the content which may be cogitated as existing in 
them a priori, we shall find that some indicate a being, oth- 
ers merely a non-being. The logical negation expressed in 
the word not, does not properly belong to a conception, but 
only to the relation of one conception to another in a judg- 
ment, and is consequently quite insufficient to present to the 
mind the content of a conception. The expression not mor- 
tal, does not indicate that a non-being is cogitated in the 
object; it does not concern the content at all. A transcen- 
dental negation, on the contrary, indicates non-being in it- 
self, and is opposed to transcendental affirmation, the con- 
ception of which of itself expresses a being. Hence this 
affirmation indicates a reality, because in and through it 
objects are considered to be something — to be things; while 
the opposite negation, on the other hand, indicates a mere 
want, or privation, or absence, and, where such negations 
alone are attached to a representation, the non-existence 
of anything corresponding to the representation. 

Now a negation cannot be cogitated as determined, with- 
out cogitating at the same time the opposite affirmation. 
The man born blind has not the least notion of darkness, 
because he has none of light; the vagabond knows nothing 
of poverty, because he has never known what it is to be in 
comfort;' the ignorant man has no conception of his igno- 
rance, because he has no conception of knowledge. All 
conceptions of negatives are accordingly derived or deduced 

' The investigations and calculations of astronomers have taught us much 
that is wonderful ; but the most important lesson we have received from them 
is the discovery of the abyss of our ignorance in relation to the universe — an 
ignorance, the magnitude of which reason, without the information thus derived, 
could never have conceived. This discovery of our deficiencies must produce a 
great change in the determination of the aims of human reason. 


conceptions; and realities contain the data, and, so to speak, 
tlie material or transcendental content of the possibility and 
complete determination of all things. 

If, therefore, a transcendental substratum lies at the 
foundation of the complete determination of things— a sub- 
stratum which is to form the fund from which all possible 
predicates of things are to be supplied, this substratum can- 
not be anything else than the idea of a sum-total of reality 
(omnitudo realitatis). In this view, negations are nothing 
but limitations — a term which could not, with propriety, be 
applied to them, if the unlimited (the all) did not form the 
true basis of our conception. 

This conception of a sum- total of reality is the concep- 
tion of a thing in itself, regarded as completely determined; 
and the conception of an ens realissimum, is the conception 
of an individual being, inasmuch as it is determined by that 
predicate of all possible contradictory predicates, which 
indicates and belongs to being. It is therefore a transcen- 
dental ideal which forms the basis of the complete determi- 
nation of everything that exists, and is the highest material 
condition of its possibility — a condition on which must rest 
the cogitation of all objects with respect to their content. 
Nay, more, this ideal is the only proper ideal of which the 
human mind is capable; because in this case alone a general 
conception of a thing is completely determined by and 
through itself, and cognized as the representation of an 

The logical determination of a conception is based upon 
a disjunctive syllogism, the major of which contains the 
logical division of the extent of a general conception, 
the minor limits this extent to a certain part, while the 
conclusion determines the conception by this part. The 
general conception of a reality cannot be divided a priori, 
because, without the aid of experience, we cannot know any 
determinate kinds of reality, standing under the former as 
the genus. The transcendental principle of the complete 
determination of all things is therefore merely the represen- 

XI — Science — 1 9 


tation of the sum- total of all reality; it is not a conception 
which is the genus of all predicates under itself, but oue 
which comprehends them all within itself. The complete 
determination of a thing is consequently based upon the 
limitation of this total of reality, so much being predicated 
of the thing, while ail that remains over is excluded — a pro- 
cedure which is in exact agreement with that of the disjunc- 
tive syllogism and the determination of the object in the 
conclusion by one of the members of the division. It fol- 
lows that reason, in laying the transcendental ideal at the 
foundation of its determination of all possible things, takes 
a course in exact analogy with that which it pursues in dis- 
junctive syllogisms — a proposition which formed the basis of 
the systematic division of all transcendental ideas, according 
to which they are produced in complete parallelism with 
the three modes of syllogistic reasoning employed by the 
human mind." 

It is self-evident that reason, in cogitating the necessary 
complete determination of things, does not presuppose the 
existence of a being corresponding to its ideal, but merely 
the idea of the ideal — for the purpose of deducing from the 
unconditioned totality of complete determination, the con- 
ditioned, that is, the totality of limited things. The ideal 
is therefore the prototype of all things, which, as defective 
copies {ectypa), receive from it the material of their possi- 
bility, and approximate to it more or less, though it is im- 
possible that they can ever attain to its perfection. 

The possibility of things must therefore be regarded as 
derived — except that of the thing which contains in itself 
all reality, which must be considered to be primitive and 
original. For all negations — and they are the only predi- 
cates by means of which all other things can be distinguished 
from the ens realissimum — are mere limitations of a greater 
and a higher — nay, the highest reality ; and they consequent- 
ly presuppose this reality, and are, as regards their content, 
derived from it. The manifold nature of things is only aa 
■ See pages 292 and 304. 


infinitely various mode of limiting tlie conception of the 
highest reality, which is their common substratum ; just as 
all figures are possible only as different modes of limiting 
infinite space. The object of the ideal of reason — an object 
existing only in reason itself — is also termed the primal being 
{ens originarium); as having no existence superior to him, 
the supreme being {ens summum); and as being the condition 
of all other beings, which rank under it, the being of all 
beings (ens entium). But none of these terms indicates the 
objective relation of an actually existing object to other 
things, but merely that of an idea to conceptions; and all our 
investigations into this subject still leave us in perfect 
uncertainty with regard to the existence of this being. 

A primal being cannot be said to consist of many other 
beings with an existence which is derivative, for the latter 
presuppose the former, and therefore cannot be constitutive 
parts of it. It follows that the ideal of the primal being 
must be cogitated as simple. 

The deduction of the possibility of all other things from 
this primal being cannot, strictly speaking, be considered as 
a limitation, or as a kind of division of its reality ; for this 
would be regarding the primal being as a mere aggregate — 
which has been shown to be impossible, although it was so 
represented in our first rough sketch. The highest reality 
must be regarded rather as the ground than as the sum- total 
of the possibility of all things, and the manifold nature of 
things be based, not upon the limitation of the primal being 
itself, but upon the complete series of effects which flow 
from it. And thus all our powers of sense, as well as all 
phenomenal reality, may be with propriety regarded as be- 
longing to this series of effects, while they could not have 
formed parts of the idea, considered as an aggregate. Pur- 
suing this track, and hypostatizing this idea, we shall find 
ourselves authorized to determine our notion of the Supreme 
Being by means of the mere conception of a highest reality, 
as one, simple, all-sufficient, eternal, and so on — in one word, 
to determine it in its unconditioned completeness by the ai^ 


of every possible predicate. The conception of such a being 
is the conception of God in its transcendental sense, and 
thus the ideal of pure reason is the object-matter of a tran- 
scendental Theology. 

But, by such an employment of the transcendental idea, 
we should be overstepping the limits of its validity and pur- 
pose. For reason placed it, as the conception of all reality, 
at the basis of the complete determination of things, without 
requiring that this conception be regarded as the conception 
of an objective existence. Such an existence would be 
purely fictitious, and the hypostatizing of the content of the 
idea into an ideal, as an individual being, is a step perfectly 
unauthorized. Nay, more, we are not even called upon to 
assume the possibility of such a hypothesis, as none of 
the deductions drawn from such an ideal would affect the 
complete determination of things in general — for the sake of 
which alone is the idea necessary. 

It is not sufficient to circumscribe the procedure and 
the dialectic of reason; we must also endeavor to discover 
the sources of this dialectic, that we may have it in our 
power to give a rational explanation of this illusion, as a 
phenomenon of the human mind. For the ideal, of which 
we are at present speaking, is based, not upon an arbitrary, 
but upon a natural, idea. The question hence arises: how 
happens it that reason regards the possibility of all things as 
deduced from a single possibility, that, to wit, of the highest 
reality, and presupposes this as existing in an individual 
and primal being? 

The answer is ready; it is at once presented by the pro- 
cedure of transcendental analytic. The possibility of sen- 
suous objects is a relation of these objects to thought, in 
which something (the empirical form) may be cogitated 
a priori; while that which constitutes the matter — the real- 
ity of the phenomenon (that element which corresponds to 
sensation) — must be given from without, as otherwise it 
could not even be cogitated by, nor could its possibility 
be presentable to the mind. Now, a sensuous object is 


completely determiued, when it has been compared with 
all phenomenal predicates, and represented by means of 
these either positively or negatively. But, as that which 
constitutes the thing itself — the real in a phenomenon, must ' 
be given, and that, in which the real of all phenomena is 
given, is experience, one, sole, and all-embracing — the 
material of the possibility of all sensuous objects must be 
presupposed as given in a whole, and it is upon the limita- 
tion of this whole that the possibility of all empirical ob- 
jects, their distinction from each other and their complete 
determination, are based. Now, no other objects are pre- 
sented to us besides sensuous objects, and these can be given 
only in connection with a possible experience; it follows 
that a thing is not an object to us, unless it presupposes the 
whole or sum-total of empirical reality as the condition of 
its possibility. Now, a natural illusion leads us to consider 
this principle, which is valid only of sensuous objects, as 
valid with regard to things in general. And thus we are 
induced to hold the empirical principle of our conceptions 
of the possibility of things, as phenomena, by leaving out 
this limitative condition, to be a transcendental principle of 
the possibility of things in general. 

We proceed afterward to hypostatize this idea of the 
sum-total of all reality, by changing the distributive unity of 
the empirical exercise of the understanding into the collective 
unity of an empirical whole — a dialectical illusion, and by 
cogitating this whole or sum of experience as an individual 
thing, containing in itself all empirical reality. This indi- 
vidual thing or being is then, by means of the above- 
mentioned transcendental subreption, substituted for our 
notion of a thing which stands at the head of the possibility 
of all things, the real conditions of whose complete determi- 
nation it presents. ' 

' This ideal of the ens realissinmm — although merely a mental representa- 
tion — is first objectivized, that is, has an objective existence attributed to it, then 
hyposiatized, and finally, by the natural progress of reason to the completion 
of unity, personified, as we shall show presently. For the regulative unity of 
experience is not based upon phenomena themselves, but upon the connection 



Section Third 

Of the Arguments employed by Speculative Reason in prooj 
of the Existence of a Supreme Being 

Notwithstanding the pressing necessity which reason 
feels, to form some presupposition that shall serve the 
understanding as a proper basis for the complete determina- 
tion of its conceptions, the idealistic and factitious nature 
of such a presupposition is too evident to allow reason for 
a moment to persuade itself into a belief of the objective 
existence of a mere creation of its own thought. But there 
are other considerations which compel reason to seek out 
some resting-place in the regress from the conditioned to the 
unconditioned, which is not given as an actual existence 
from the mere conception of it, although it alone can give 
completeness to the series of conditions. And this is the 
natural course of every human reason, even of the most 
uneducated, although the path at first entered it does not 
always continue to follow. It does not begin from concep- 
tions, but from common experience, and requires a basis in 
actual existence. But this basis is insecure, unless it rests 
upon the immovable rock of the absolutely necessary. And 
this foundation is itself unworthy of trust, if it leave iMader 
aad above it empty space, if it do not fill all, and leave no 
room for a why or a wherefore, if it be not, in one word, 
infinite in its reality. 

If we admit the existence of some one thing, whatever it 
may be, we must also admit that there is something which 
exists necessarily. For what is contingent exists only under 
the condition of some other thing, which is its cause; and 
from this we must go on to conclude the existence of a 

of the variety of phenomena by the understanding in a consciousness, and thua 
the unity of the supreme reality and the complete determiuability of all things, 
•eem to reaide in a supreme understanding, and consequently, in a conscious 


cause, which is not contingent, and which consequently 
exists necessarily and unconditionally. Such is the argu- 
ment by which reason justifies its advances toward a 
primal being. 

Now reason looks round for the conception of a being 
that may be admitted, without inconsistency, to be worthy 
of the attribute of absolute necessity, not for the purpose of 
inferring a priori, from the conception of such a being, its 
objective existence (for if reason allowed itself to take this 
course, it would not require a basis in given and actual 
existence, but merely the support of pure conceptions), but 
for the purpose of discovering, among all our conceptions of 
possible things, that conception which possesses no element 
inconsistent with the idea of absolute necessity. For that 
there must be some absolutely necessary existence, it re- 
gards as a truth already established. Now, if it can remove 
every existence incapable of supporting the attribute of 
absolute necessity, excepting one — this must be the abso- 
lutely necessary being, whether its necessity is comprehen- 
sible by us, that is, deducible from the conception of it 
alone, or not. 

Now that, the c6nception of which contains a therefore to 
every wherefore, which is not defective in any respect what- 
ever, which is all-sufficient as a condition, seems to be the 
being of which we can justly predicate absolute necessity — 
for this reason, that, possessing the conditions of all that is 
possible, it does not and cannot itself require any condition. 
And thus it satisfies, in one respect at least, the require 
ments of the conception of absolute necessity. In this view. 
It is superior to all other conceptions, which, as deficient and 
incomplete, do not possess the characteristic of independence 
of all higher conditions. It is true that we cannot infer 
from this that what does not contain in itself the supreme 
and complete condition — the condition of all other things, 
must possess only a conditioned existence; but as little can 
we assert the contrary, for this supposed being does not 
possess the only characteristic which can enable reason to 


cognize, by means of an a priori conception, tlie uncondi- 
tioned and necessary nature of its existence. 

The conception of an ens realissimum is that which best 
agrees with the conception of an unconditioned and neces- 
sary being. The former conception does not satisfy all the 
requirements of the latter; but we have no choice, we are 
obliged to adhere to it, for we find that we cannot do with- 
out the existence of a necessary being; and even although 
we admit it, we find it out of our power to discover in the 
whole sphere of possibility any being that can advance well- 
grounded claims to such a distinction. 

The following is, therefore, the natural course of human 
reason. It begins by persuading itself of the existence of 
some necessary being. In this being it recognizes the char- 
acteristics of unconditioned existence. It then seeks the 
conception of that which is independent of all conditions, 
and finds it in that which is itself the sufficient condition 
of all other things — in other words, in that which contains 
all reality. But the unlimited all is an absolute unity, and 
is conceived by the mind as a being one and supreme; 
and thus reason concludes that the supreme being, as the 
primal basis of all things, possesses an existence which is 
absolutely necessary. 

This conception must be regarded as in some degree 
satisfactory, if we admit the existence of a necessary being, 
and consider that there exists a necessity for a definite and 
final answer to these questions. In such a case, we cannot 
make a better choice, or rather we have no choice at all, but 
feel ourselves obliged to declare in favor of the absolute 
unity of complete reality, as the highest source of the pos- 
sibility of things. But if there exists no motive for coming 
to a definite conclusion, and we may leave the question un- 
answered till we have fully weighed both sides — in other 
words, when we are merely called upon to decide how much 
we happen to know about the question, and how much we 
merely flatter ourselves that we know — the above conclusion 
does not appear to so great advantage, but, on the contrary, 


Beems defective in the grounds upon which it is sup- 

For, admitting the truth of all that has been said, that, 
namely, the inference from a given existence (my own, for 
example) to the existence of an unconditioned and necessary 
being is valid and unassailable; that, in the second place, 
we must consider a being which contains all reality, and 
consequently all the conditions of other things, to be abso- 
lutely unconditioned; and admitting too, that we have thus 
discovered the conception of a thing to which may be attrib- 
uted, without inconsistency, absolute necessity — it does not 
follow from all this that the conception of a limited being, 
in which the supreme reality does not reside, is therefore 
incompatible with the idea of absolute necessity. For, 
although I do not discover the element of the unconditioned 
in the conception of such a being — an element which is 
manifestly existent in the sum-total of all conditions, I am 
not entitled to conclude that its existence is therefore condi- 
tioned; just as I am not entitled to affirm, in a hypothetical 
syllogism, that where a certain condition does not exist 
(in the present, completeness, as far as pure conceptions are 
concerned), the conditioned does not exist either. On the 
contrary, we are free to consider all limited beings as like- 
wise unconditionally necessary, although we are unable to 
infer this from the general conception which we have of 
them. Thus conducted, this argument is incapable of giving 
us the least notion of the properties of a necessary being, 
and must be in every respect without result. 

This argument continues, however, to possess a weight 
and an authority, which, in spite of its objective insuffi- 
ciency, it has never been divested of. For, granting that 
certain responsibilities lie upon us, which, as based on the 
ideas of reason, deserve to be respected and submitted to, 
although they are incapable of a real or practical application 
to our nature, or, in other words, would be responsibilities 
without motives, except upon the supposition of a Supreme 
Being to give effect and influence to the practical laws; in 


sucb. a case we should be bound to obey our conceptions, 
■whicb, althougb objectively insufficient, do, according to 
the standard of reason, preponderate over and are superior 
to any claims that may be advanced from any other quarter. 
The equilibrium of doubt would in this case be destroyed 
by a practical addition; indeed. Reason would be compelled 
to condemn herself, if she refused to comply with the de- 
mands of the judgment, no superior to which we know — 
however defective her understanding of the grounds of these 
demands might be. 

This argument, although in fact transcendental, inasmuch 
as it rests upon the intrinsic insufficiency of the contingent, 
is so simple and natural, that the commonest understanding 
can appreciate its value. "We see things around us change, 
arise, and pass away; they, or their condition, must there- 
fore have a cause. The same demand must again be made 
of the cause itself — as a datum of experience. Now it is 
natural that we should place the highest causality just where 
we place supreme causality, in that being, which contains 
the conditions of all possible effects, and the conception of 
which is so simple as that of an all-embracing reality. This 
highest cause, then, we regard as absolutely necessary, be- 
cause we find it absolutely necessary to rise to it, and do not 
discover any reason for proceeding beyond it. Thus, among 
all nations, through the darkest polytheism glimmer some 
faint sparks of monotheism, to which these idolaters have 
been led, not from reflection and profound thought, but by 
the study and natural progress of the common understanding. 

There are only three modes of proving the existence of a 
Deity, on the grounds of speculative reason. 

AH the paths conducting to this end, begin either from 
determinate experience and the peculiar constitution of the 
world of sense, and rise, according to the laws of causality, 
from it to the highest cause existing apart from the world — 
or from a purely indeterminate experience, that is, some em- 
pirical existence — or abstraction is made of all experience, 
and the existence of a supreme cause is concluded from a 


priori conceptions alone. The first is the physieo-theological 
argument, the second the cosmohgical, the third the ontologi- 
cal. More there are not, and more there cannot be. 

I shall show it is as unsuccessful on the one path — the 
empirical, as on the other — the transcendental, and that it 
stretches its wings in vain, to soar beyond the world of sense 
by the mere might of speculative thought. As regards the 
order in which we must discuss those arguments, it will be 
exactly the reverse of that in which reason, in the progress 
of its development, attains to them — the order in which they 
are placed above. For it will be made manifest to the reader, 
that, although experience presents the occasion and the start- 
ing point, it is the transcendental idea of reason which guides 
it in its pilgrimage, and is the goal of all its struggles. I 
shall therefore begin with an examination of the transcen- 
dental argument, and afterward inquire, what additional 
strength has accrued to this mode of proof from the addi- 
tion of the empirical element. 


Section Foubth 

Of the Impossibility of an Ontological Proof of the Exist- 
ence of God 

It is evident from what has been said, that the conception 
of an absolutely necessary being is a mere idea, the objective 
reality of which is far from being established by the mere 
fact that it is a need of reason. On the contrary, this idea 
serves merely to indicate a certain unattainable perfection, 
and rather limits the operations than, by the presentation of 
new objects, extends the sphere of the understanding. But 
a strange anomaly meets us at the very threshold; for the 
inference from a given existence in general to an absolutely 
necessary existence, seems to be correct and unavoidable, 
while the conditions of the understanding refuse to aid us in 
forming any conception of such a being. 

Philosophers have always talked of an absolutely necessary 


being, and liave nevertlieless declined to take the trouble 
of conceiving, whether — and how — a being of this nature is 
even cogitable, not to mention that its existence is actually 
demonstrable. A verbal definition of the conception is cer- 
tainly easy enough: it is something, the non-existence of 
which is impossible. But does this definition throw any 
light upon the conditions which render it impossible to cogi 
tate the non-existence of a thing — conditions which we wish 
to ascertain, that we may discover whether we think any- 
thing in the conception of such a being or not ? For the 
mere fact that I throw away, by means of the word Uncondi- 
tioned, all the conditions which the understanding habitually 
requires in order to regard anything as necessary, is very far 
from making clear whether by means of the conception of 
the unconditionally necessary I think of something, or really 
of nothing at all. 

Nay, more, this chance-conception, now become so cur- 
rent, many have endeavored to explain by examples, which 
seemed to render any inquiries regarding its intelligibility 
quite needless. Every geometrical proposition — a triangle 
has three angles — it was said, is absolutely necessary; and 
thus people talked of an object which lay out of the sphere 
of our understanding as if it were perfectly plain what the 
conception of such a being meant. 

All the examples adduced have been drawn, without 
exception, from judgments, and not from things. But the 
unconditioned necessity of a judgment does not form the ab- 
solute necessity of a thing. On the contrary, the absolute 
necessity of a judgment is only a conditioned necessity of a 
thing, or of the predicate in a judgment. The proposition 
above mentioned, does not enounce that three angles neces- 
sarily exist, but, upon condition that a triangle exists, three 
angles must necessarily exist — in it. And thus this logical 
necessity has been the source of the greatest delusions. 
Ilaving formed an a priori conception of a thing, the con- 
tent of which was made to embrace existence, we believed 
ourselves saf« in concluding that, because existence belongs 


necessarily to tlie object of the conception (that is, under the 
condition of my positing this thing as given), the existence 
of the thing is also posited necessarily, and that it is there- 
fore absolutely necessary — merely because its existence has 
been cogitated in the conception. 

If, in an identical judgment, I annihilate the predicate in 
thought, and retain the subject, a contradiction is the result; 
and hence I say, the former belongs necessarily to the latter. 
But if I suppress both subject and predicate in thought, no 
contradiction arises ; for there is nothing at all, and therefore 
no means of forming a contradiction. To suppose the exist- 
ence of a triangle and not that of its three angles, is self-con- 
tradictory; but to suppose the non-existence of both triangle 
and angles is perfectly admissible. And so is it with the 
conception of an absolutely necessary being. Annihilate 
its existence in thought, and you annihilate the thing itself 
with all its predicates ; how then can there be any room for 
contradiction ? Externally, ' there is nothing to give rise to 
a contradiction, for a thing cannot be necessary externally; 
nor internally, for, by the annihilation or suppression of the 
thing itself, its internal properties are also annihilated. God 
is omnipotent — that is a necessary judgment. His omnipo- 
tence cannot be denied, if the existence of a Deity is posited 
— the existence, that is, of an infinite being, the two concep- 
tions being identical. But when you say, God does not exist, 
neither omnipotence nor any other predicate is afiirmed ; they 
must all disappear with the subject, and in this judgment 
there cannot exist the least self-contradiction. 

You have thus seen, that when the predicate of a judg- 
ment is annihilated in thought along'with the subject, no in- 
ternal contradiction can arise, be the predicate what it may. 
There is no possibility of evading the conclusion — you find 
yourselves compelled to declare: There are certain subjects 
which cannot be annihilated in thought. But this is noth- 
ing more than saying : There exist subjects which are abso- 
lutely necessary — the very hypothesis which you are called 
' In relation to other tilings. — Tr. 


upon to establish. For I find myself unable to form th« 
glightest conception of a thing which, when annihilated in 
thought with all its predicates, leaves behind a contradic- 
tion; and contradiction is the only criterion of impossibility, 
in the sphere of pure a priori conceptions. 

Against these general considerations, the justice of which 
no one can dispute, one argument is adduced, which is re- 
garded as furnishing a satisfactory demonstration from the 
fact. It is affirmed, that there is one and only one concep- 
tion, in which the non-being or annihilation of the object is 
self-contradictory, and this is the conception of an ens realis- 
simum. It possesses, you say, all reality, and you feel your- 
selves justified in admitting the possibility of such a being. 
(This I am willing to grant for the present, although the ex- 
istence of a conception which is not self -contradictory, is far 
from being sufficient to prove the possibility of an object.') 
Now the notion of all reality embraces in it that of existence; 
the notion of existence lies, therefore, in the conception of 
this possible thing. If this thing is annihilated in thought, 
the internal possibility of the thing is also annihilated, which 
is self-contradictory. 

I answer: It is absurd to introduce — under whatever term 
disguised — into the conception of a thing, which is to be cogi- 
tated solely in reference to its possibility, the conception of 
its existence. If this is admitted, you will have apparently 
gained the day, but in reality have enounced nothing but a 
mere tautology. I ask, is the proposition, this or that thing 
(which I am admitting to be possible) exists, an analytical or 
a synthetical proposition? If the former, there is no addi- 
tion made to the subject of your thought by the affirmation 
of its existence; but then the conception in your minds is 

• A conception is always possible, if it Is not Belf-contradietory. This is tho 
luglcal criterion of possibility, distinguishing the object of gueh a conception 
from the nihU negativum. But it may be, notwithstanding, an empty concep- 
tion, unless the objective reality of this synthesis, by which it is generated, ia 
demonstrated; and a proof of this kind must be based upon principles of possi- 
ble experience, and not upon the principle of analysis or contradiction. This 
remark may be serviceable as a warning against concluding, from the possibility 
of a conception — which is logical, the possibility of a thing — which is real 


identical with the thing itself, or you have supposed the ex- 
istence of a thing to be possible, and then inferred its exist- 
ence from its internal possibility — which is but a miserable 
tautology. The word reality in the conception of the thing, 
and the word existence in the conception of the predicate, will 
not help you out of the difficulty. For, supposing you were 
to term all positing of a thing, reality, you have thereby 
posited the thing with all its predicates in the conception 
of the subject and assumed its actual existence, and this you 
merely repeat in the predicate. But if you confess, as every 
reasonable person must, that every existential proposition is 
synthetical, how can it be maintained that the predicate of 
existence cannot be denied without contradiction — a property 
which is the characteristic of analytical propositions, alone. 

I should have a reasonable hope of putting an end for- 
ever to this sophistical mode of argumentation, by a strict 
definition of the conception of existence, did not my own 
experience teach me that the illusion arising from our con- 
founding a logical with a real predicate (a predicate which 
aids in the determination of a thing) resists almost all the 
endeavors of explanation and illustration. A logical predi- 
cate may be what you please, even the subject may be predi- 
cated of itself; for logic pays no regard to the content of a 
judgment. But the determination of a conception is a predi- 
cate, which adds to and enlarges the conception. It must 
not, therefore, be contained in the conception. 

Being is evidently not a real predicate, that is, a concep- 
tion of something which is added to the conception of some 
other thing. It is merely the positing of a thing, or of cer- 
tain determinations in it. Logically, it is merely the cop- 
ula of a judgment. The proposition, God is omnipotent, 
contains two conceptions, which have a certain object or 
content; the word is, is no additional predicate — it merely 
indicates the relation of the predicate to the subject. Now, 
if I take the subject (God) with all its predicates (omnipo- 
tence being one), and say, God is, or There is a God, I add 
no new predicate to the conception of God, I merely posit 


or affirm the existence of the subject with all its predicates — 
I posit the object in relation to my conception. The content 
of both is the same; and there is no addition made to the 
conception, which expresses merely the possibility of the 
object, by my cogitating the object — in the expression, it is 
— as absolutely given or existing. Thus .the real contains 
no more than the possible. A hundred real dollars contain 
no more than a hundred possible dollars. For, as the latter 
indicate the conception, and the former the object, on the 
supposition that the content of the former was greater than 
that of the latter, my conception would not be an expression 
of the whole object, and would consequently be an inadequate 
conception of it. But in reckoning my wealth there may be 
said to be more in a hundred real dollars than in a hundred 
possible dollars — that is, in the mere conception of them. 
For the real object — the dollars — is not analytically con- 
tained in my conception, but forms a synthetical addition 
to my conception (which is merely a determination of my 
mental state), although this objective reality — this existence 
— apart from my conception, does not in the least degree 
increase the aforesaid hundred dollars. 

By whatever and by whatever number of predicates — ■ 
even to the complete determinatioa of it — I may cogitate a 
thing, I do not in the least augment the object of my con- 
ception by the addition of the statement, this thing exists. 
Otherwise, not exactly the same, but something more than 
what was cogitated in my conception, would exist, and I 
could not affirm that the exact object of my conception had 
real existence. If I cogitate a thing as containing all modes 
of reality except one, the mode of reality which is absent is 
not added to the conception of the thing by the affirmation 
that the thing exists; on the contrary, the thing exists — if 
it exist at all — with the same defect as that cogitated in 
its conception; otherwise not that which was cogitated, but 
something different, exists. Now, if I cogitate a being as 
the highest reality, without defect or imperfection, the ques- 
tion still remains — whether this being exists or not? For 


althougli no element is wanting in tiie possible real content 
of my conception, tliere is a defect in its relation to my men- 
tal state, tliat is, I am ignorant whether the cognition of the 
object indicated by the conception is possible a posteriori. 
And here the cause of the present difficulty becomes appar- 
ent. If the question regarded an object of sense merely, it 
would be impossible for me to confound the conception with 
the existence of a thing. For the conception merely en- 
ables me to cogitate an object as according with the general 
conditions of experience ; while the existence of the object 
permits me to cogitate it as contained in the sphere of actual 
experience. At the same time, this connection with the 
world of experience does not in the least augment the con- 
ception, although a possible perception has been added to 
the experience of the mind. But if we cogitate existence 
by the pure category alone, it is not to be wondered at, that 
we should find ourselves unable to present any criterion 
sufficient to distinguish it from mere possibility. 

Whatever be the content of our conception of an object, 
it is necessary to go beyond it, if we wish to predicate exist- 
ence of the object. In the case of sensuous objects, this is 
attained by their connection according to empirical laws with 
some one of my perceptions; but there is no means of cog- 
nizing the existence of objects of pure thought, because it 
must be cognized completely a priori. But all our knowl- 
edge of existence (be it immediately by perception, or by in- 
ferences connecting some object with a perception) belongs 
entirely to the sphere of experience — which is in perfect unity 
with itself; and although an existence out of this sphere can- 
not be absolutely declared to be impossible, it is a hypothesis 
the truth of which we have no means of ascertaining. 

The notion of a supreme being is in many respects a 
highly useful idea; but for the very reason that it is an 
idea, it is incapable of enlarging our cognition with regard 
to the existence of things. It is not even sufficient to in- 
struct us as to the possibility of a being which we do not 
know to exist. The analytical criterion of possibility, which 


consists in the absence of contradiction in propositions, caa- 
not be denied it. But the connection of real properties in 
a thing is a synthesis of the possibility of which an a priori 
judgment cannot be formed, because these realities are not 
presented to us specifically ; and even if this were to happen, 
a judgment would still be impossible, because the criterion 
of the possibility of synthetical cognitions must be sought 
for in the world of experience, to which the object of an 
idea cannot belong. And thus the celebrated Leibnitz has 
utterly failed in his attempt to establish upon a priori 
grounds the possibility of this sublime ideal being. 

The celebrated ontological or Cartesian argument for the 
existence of a Supreme Being is therefore insufficient; and 
we may as well hope to increase our stock of knowledge by 
the aid of mere ideas, as the merchant to augment his wealth 
by the addition of noughts to his cash account. 


Section Fifth 

Of the Impossibility of a Cosmological Proof of the Exist- 
ence of Ood 
It was by no means a natural course of proceeding, but, 
on the contrary, an invention entirely due to the subtlety of 
the schools, to attempt to draw from a mere idea a proof 
of the existence of an object corresponding to it. Such a 
course would never have been pursued, were it not for that 
need of reason which requires it to suppose the existence of 
a necessary being as a basis for the empirical regress, and 
that, as this necessity must be unconditioned and a priori, 
reason is bound to discover a conception which shall satisfy, 
if possible, this requirement, and enable us to attain to the 
a priori cognition of such a being. This conception was 
thought to be found in the idea of an ens realissimum, and 
thus this idea was employed for the attainment of a better 
defined knowledge of a necessary being, of the existence of 
which we were convinced, or persuaded, on other grounda. 


Thus reason was seduced from her natural course; and, in- 
stead of concluding with the conception of an ens realissi- 
mum, aa attempt was made to begin with it, for the purpose 
of inferring from it that idea of a necessary existence, which 
it was in fact called in to complete. Thus arose that unfortu- 
nate ontological argument, which neither satisfies the healthy 
common-sense of humanity, nor sustains the scientific exam- 
ination of the philosopher. 

The cosmological proof, which we are about to examine, 
retains the connection between absolute necessity, and the 
highest reality; but, instead of reasoning from this highest 
reality to a necessary existence, like the preceding argu- 
ment, it concludes from the given unconditioned necessity 
of some being its unlimited reality. The track it pursues, 
whether rational or sophistical, is at least natural, and not 
only goes far to persuade the common understanding, but 
shows itself deserving of respect from the speculative intel- 
lect; while it contains, at the same time, the outlines of all 
the arguments employed in natural theology — arguments 
which always have been, and still will be, in use and au- 
thority. These, however adorned, and hid under whatever 
embellishments of rhetoric and sentiment, are at bottom 
identical with the arguments we are at present to discuss. 
This proof, termed by Leibnitz the argumentum a contin- 
gentid mundi, I shall now lay before the reader, and subject 
to a strict examination. 

It is framed in the following manner: If something 
exists, an absolutely necessary being must likewise exist. 
Now I, at least, exist. Consequently, there exists an abso- 
lutely necessary being. The minor contains an experience, 
the major reasons from a general experience to the existence 
of a necessary being.' Thus this argument really begins at 

■ This inference is too well known to require more detailed diseussion. It 
is based upon the spurious transcendental law of causality,* that everything 
which is contingent has a cause, which, if itself coniingent, must also have a 
cause ; and so on, till the series of subordinated causes must end with an abio- 
tately necessary causei without which it would not possess completeness. 

• See note on page 235.— 2V. 


experience, and is not completely a priori, or ontological. 
The object of all possible experience being the world, it is 
called tbe cosmological proof. It contains no reference to 
any peculiar property of sensuous objects, by wbicb this 
world of sense might be distinguished from other possible 
worlds; and in this respect it differs from the physico- 
theological proof, which is based upon the consideration 
of the peculiar constitution of our sensuous world. 

The proof proceeds thus: A necessary being can be de- 
termined only in one way, that is, it can be determined by 
only one of all possible opposed predicates; consequently, 
it must be completely determined in and by its conception. 
Bat there is only a single conception of a thing possible, 
which completely determines the thing a priori: that is, the 
conception of the ens realissimum. It follows that the con- 
ception of the ens realissimum is the only conception, by and 
in which we can cogitate a necessary being. Consequently, 
a supreme being necessarily exists. 

In this cosmological argument are assembled so many 
sophistical propositions, that speculative reason seems to 
have exerted in it all her dialectical skill to produce a tran- 
scendental illusion of the most extreme character. We shall 
postpone an investigation of this argument for the present, 
and confine ourselves to exposing the stratagem by which 
it imposes upon us an old argument in a new dress, and ap- 
peals to the agreement of two witnesses, the one with the 
credentials of pure reason, and the other with those of 
empiricism; while, in fact, it is only the former who has 
changed his dress and voice, for the purpose of passing him- 
self off for an additional witness. That it may possess a 
secure foundation, it bases its conclusions upon experience, 
and thus appears to be completely distinct from the ontolog- 
ical argument, which places its confidence entirely in pure 
a priori conceptions. But this experience merely aids reason 
in making one step — to the existence of a necessary being. 
What the properties of this being are, cannot be learned 
from experience; and therefore reason abandons it alto- 


gather, and pursues its inquiries in the sphere of pure con- 
ceptions, for the purpose of discovering what the properties 
of an absolutely necessary being ought to be, that is, what 
among all possible things contain the conditions {requisita) 
of absolute necessity. Eeason believes that it has discovered 
these requisites in the conception of an ens realissimum — and 
in it alone, and hence concludes: The ens realissimum is an 
absolutely necessary being. But it is evident that reason has 
here presupposed that the conception of an ens realissimum 
is perfectly adequate to the conception of a being of absolute 
necessity, that is, that we may infer the existence of the 
latter from that of the former — a proposition which formed 
the basis of the ontological argument, and which is now 
employed in the support of the cosmological argument, con- 
trary to the wish and professions of its inventors. For the 
existence of an absolutely necessary being is given in con- 
ceptions alone. But if I say — the conception of the ens real- 
issimum is a conception of this kind, and in fact the only 
conception which is adequate to our idea of a necessary 
being, I am obliged to admit, that the latter may be inferred 
from the former. Thus it is properly the ontological argu- 
ment which figures in the cosmological, and constitutes the 
whole strength of the latter; while the spurious basis of 
experience has been of no further use than to conduct us to 
the conception of absolute necessity, being utterly insuffi- 
cient to demonstrate the presence of this attribute in any 
determinate existence or thing. For when we propose to 
ourselves an aim of this character, we must abandon the 
sphere of experience, and rise to that of pure conceptions, 
which we examine with the purpose of discovering whether, 
any one contains the conditions of the possibility of ow, 
absolutely necessary being. But if the possibility ofis nec- 
a being is thus demonstrated, its existence is also.e concep- 
for we may then assert that, of all possible beivne necessity 
one which possesses the attribute of necessi'cal presuppo- 
words, this being possesses an absolutely necessar'over merely 
All illusions in an argument are more easiJthout whick 


when they are presented in the formal manner employed by 
the schools, which we now proceed to do. 

If the proposition, Every absolutely necessary being is 
likewise an ens realissimum, is correct (and it is this which 
constitutes the nervus prohandi of the cosmological argu- 
ment), it must, like all affirmative judgments, be capable of 
conversion — the conversio per accidens, at least. It follows, 
then, that some entia realissima are absolutely necessary 
beings. But no ens realissimum is in any respect different 
from another, and what is valid of some, is valid of all. In 
this present case, therefore, I may employ simple conver- 
sion,' and say. Every ens realissimum is a necessary being. 
But as this proposition is determined a priori by the concep- 
tions contained in it, the mere conception of an ens realis- 
simum must possess the additional attribute of absolute 
necessity. But this is exactly what was maintained in the 
ontological argument, and not recognized by the cosmologi- 
cal, although it formed the real ground of its disguised and 
illusory reasoning. 

Thus the second mode employed by speculative reason 
of demonstrating the existence of a Supreme Being, is not 
only, like the first, illusory and inadequate, but possesses 
the additional blemish of an ignoratio elenchi — ^professing to 
conduct us by a new road to the desired goal, but bringing 
us back, after a short circuit, to the old path which we had 
deserted at its call. 

I mentioned above, that this cosmological argument con- 
tains a perfect nest of dialectical assumptions, which tran- 
scendental criticism does not find it difficult to expose and to 
dissipate. I shall merely enumerate these, leaving it to the 
sfiider, who must by this time be well practiced in such 
and°J"S, to investigate the fallacies residing therein, 
ical argfollowing fallacies, for example, are discoverable in 
a przoH coif proof: 1. The transcendental principle, Every- 
in making is contingent must have a cause — a principle 
What th^nificance, except in the sensuous world. For 

irom exp i 'Conversio pura sea simplex. — Tr, 


the purely intellectual conception of the contingent cannot 
produce any synthetical proposition, like that of causality, 
which is itself without significance or distinguishing charac- 
teristic except in the phenomenal world. But in the present 
case it is employed to help us beyond the limits of its 
sphere. 2. From the impossibility of an infinite ascending 
series of causes in -the world of sense a first cause is inferred 
— a conclusion which the principles of the employment of 
reason do not justify even in the sphere of experience, and 
still less when an attempt is made to pass the limits of this 
sphere. 3. Reason allows itself to be satisfied upon insuffi- 
cient grounds, with regard to the completion of this series. 
It removes all conditions (without which, however, no con- 
ception of Necessity can take place) ; and, as after this it is 
beyond our power to form any other conception, it accepts 
this as a completion of the conception it wishes to form of 
the series. 4. The logical possibility of a conception of the 
total of reality (the criterion of this possibility being the ab- 
sence of contradiction) is confounded with the transcenden- 
tal, which requires a principle of the practicability of such 
a synthesis — a principle which again refers us to the world 
of experience. And so on. 

The aim of the cosmological argument is to avoid the 
necessity of proving the existence of a necessary being 
a priori from mere conceptions — a proof which must be 
ontological, and of which we feel ourselves quite incapable. 
With this purpose, we reason from an actual existence — an 
experience in general, to an absolutely necessary condition 
of that existence. It is in this case unnecessary to demon- 
strate its possibility. For after having proved that it exists, 
the question regarding its possibility is superfluous. Now, 
when we wish to define more strictly the nature of this nec- 
essary being, we do not look out for some being the concep- 
tion of which would enable us to comprehend the necessity 
of its being — for if we could do this, an empirical presuppo- 
sition would be unnecessary ; no, we try to discover merely 
the negative condition {conditio sine qud non), without which 


a being would not be absolutely necessary. Now tliis would 
be perfectly admissible in every sort of reasoning, from a 
consequence to its principle; but in tbe present case it un- 
fortunately happens that the condition of absolute necessity 
can be discovered in but a single being, the conception of 
which must consequently contain all that is requisite for 
demonstrating the presence of absolute necessity, and thus 
entitle me to infer this absolute necessity a priori. That is, 
it must be possible to reason conversely, and say — the thing, 
to which the conception of the highest reality belongs, is 
absolutely necessary. But if I cannot reason thus — and I 
cannot, unless I believe in the sufficiency of the ontological 
argument — I find insurmountable obstacles in my new path, 
and am really no further than the point from which I set 
out. The conception of a Supreme Being satisfies all ques- 
tions a priori regarding the internal determinations of a 
thing, and is for this reason an ideal without equal or paral- 
lel, the general conception of it indicating it as at the same 
time an ens individuum among all possible things. But the 
conception does not satisfy the question regarding its exist- 
ence — which was the purpose of all our inquiries; and, 
although the existence of a necessary being were admitted, 
we should find it impossible to answer the question — What 
of all things in the world must be regarded as such ? 

It is certainly allowable to admit the existence of an all- 
sufficient being — a cause of all possible effects, for the pur- 
pose of enabling reason to introduce unity into its mode and 
grounds of explanation witb regard to phenomena. But to 
assert that such a being necessarily exists, is no longer the 
modest enunciation of an admissible hypothesis, but the 
boldest declaration of an apodictio certainty; for the cog- 
nition of that which is absolutely necessary, must itself 
possess that character. 

The aim of the transcendental ideal formed by the mind 
is, either to discover a conception which shall harmonize 
with the idea of absolute necessity, or a conception which 
shall contain that idea. If the one is possible, so is the 


other; for reason recognizes that alone as absolutely neces- 
sary, which is necessary from its conception.' But both 
attempts are equally beyond our power — we find it impos- 
sible t6 satisfy the understanding upon this point, and as 
impossible to induce it to remain at rest in relation to 
this incapacity. 

Unconditioned necessity, which, as the ultimate support 
and stay of all existing things, is an indispensable require- 
ment of the mind, is an abyss on the verge of which human 
reason trembles in dismay. Even the idea of eternity, 
terrible and sublime as it is, as depicted by Haller, does 
not produce upon the mental vision such a feeling of awe 
and terror; for, although it measures the duration of things, 
it does not support them. We cannot bear, nor can we rid 
ourselves of the thought, that a being, which we regard as 
the greatest of all possible existences, should say to himself: 
I am from eternity to eternity; beside me there is nothing, 
except that which exists by my will ; but whence then am If 
Here all sinks away from under us; and the greatest, as the 
smallest, perfection, hovers without stay or footing in pres- 
ence of the speculative reason,